Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Amoris International $18

William BLEZARD (born 1921)

Two Contrasted Pieces (1994)
Edwin CARR (born 1926)

Four Pieces (1966/7)
Two Mansfield Poems (1988)
Prelude and Aria (1990)
Harold SCHIFFMAN (born 1928)

Tsiyahi Dikanogisdi (1996)
Leonard SALZEDO (1921 – 2000)

Cantiga Mozárabe Op.73 (1970)
John RUSHBY-SMITH (born 1936)

Monologue (1971)
Wilfred JOSEPHS (1927 - 1997)

Alice’s Reverie (1977, arr. 1996)
John McCABE (born 1939)

Dance-Prelude (1971)
Jennifer Paull (oboe d’amore); Read Gainsford (piano)
Recorded: Opperman Music Hall, Florida State University, March 1997
AMORIS EDITION AR 1003 [59:16]
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New-Zealand-born Edwin Carr has pride of place here, to a certain extent though, for his pieces, as all others in this collection, are fairly short. Four Pieces, his earliest work, was written for the present soloist in 1966-1967. (They also exist in a version with harp and strings.) A somewhat tongue-in-cheek March is followed by a Musette and a Pastoral, the whole capped by a lively Almain ("Allemande"). Two Mansfield Poems of 1988 are somewhat more ambitious in terms of overall length and emotional range, though again the music never outstays its welcome. These are performed here as songs without words although the the composer specifies that poems by Katherine Mansfield are to be recited in live performance, something that Jennifer Paull has always included as an active part of their integral interpretation in concert. They are in turn a Barcarolle and a Reverie. Prelude and Aria, his most recent piece for oboe d’amore so far, was completed in 1990. It is a more abstract, more exploratory piece than any of the preceding ones and displaying "the darker side of the oboe d’amore" (the composer’s words), but still quite attractive.

Blezard’s Two Contrasted Pieces consist of a meditative Soliloquy followed by a slightly nostalgic Waltz.

Tsiyahi Dikanogisdi (i.e. "music from the place of the otter" in Cherokee Indian language) by Harold Schiffman, who has also composed a concerto for oboe d’amore in 1988, is a short triptych of great melodic charm.

Leonard Salzedo’s Cantiga Mozárabe Op.73 draws on the composer’s Sephardic origins, and the solo part is tinged with Moorish inflections. (‘Mozárabe’ refers to the period when Spain was under Moorish rule.) A fairly substantial work, notwithstanding its concision.

John Rushby-Smith’s Monologue for solo oboe d’amore is also in three short movements: a bipartite introduction and fugue (a real tour de force) followed by a short theme and variations on a folk-like tune and a lively folk-inflected dance, however, ending with a restatement of the opening recitative-like theme of the first movement.

Alice’s Reverie by the late Wilfred Josephs is a chip from his first Alice opera. This short piece, originally for cello and piano (written for the composer’s daughter), was later re-worked for double bass and piano (1980) and more recently for oboe d’amore and piano (1996).

John McCabe has composed two works for Jennifer Paull. The short Dance-Prelude for oboe d’amore and piano was completed first (the Oboe d’Amore Concerto followed in 1972). It is a delightful miniature consisting of an introduction followed by a lively, syncopated dance. I can imagine this lovely work becoming a popular encore, in spite of its title!

Most pieces, if not all, were written for Jennifer Paull who obviously enjoys them all and gives immaculate performances of these delightful miniatures. She gets a committed support from Read Gainsford. Excellent recording in remarkably natural acoustics (no clicks and extraneous noises that too often disfigure similar recitals of music for wind instruments). This attractive CD, that seems to have passed unnoticed since the time of its release, is a pure delight from first to last. A real winner.

Hubert Culot

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