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Oboe Wizardry
Casimer-Theophile LAILLIET (1837-1892)

Fantaisie on Flotow's Martha
Grigoras DINICU (1889-1949)

Hora Staccato arranged HEIFETZ
Martino BITTI (1656-1743)

Sonata in C minor
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Turkish March
Pietro di SIMONI (1758-1811)

Presto from Concerto in C
Robert STEPHENSON (b.1949)

Twinkle Variations for Solo Oboe
Christian Frederik BARTH (1787-1861)

Sonata Brillant in Bb Major
Mark Weiger (oboe)
Arthur Rowe (piano)
Recorded University of Victoria, BC, November 2000 and 2001



The wizardry belongs to Mark Weiger whose cover-shot shows him levitating an oboe. How does he do it? Simple; double and triple tonguing and circular breathing. If you thought the two former the province of trumpeters and the latter the hegemony of soloistically unstoppable jazz saxophonists, then think again. Weiger has reclaimed what he claims are historically authentic mechanisms and he lets fly with bravado, technique and flourish in this recital - a veritable Picasso of a programme.

He has excavated Lailliet and his fantasie and variational extravaganzas. Amidst all the virtuosic curlicues and those irresistibly camp French roulades we hear some brilliantly clear articulation from Weiger and some oxygen-inducing long breaths in which he practises just what he preaches. This is even more audible in that old fiddlers’ stand-by, the Dinicu-Heifetz Hora Staccato. Bitti’s four-movement sonata is nicely shaped with Weiger deigning to linger over the slow movements, though the second Adagio is certainly limpidly phrased. It was only in the finale that I thought indiscretion got slightly the better of him – it’s very fast.

You will actually take breaths for Weiger in the Simoni with its effortlessly negotiated cadenza and will doubtless admire his way with Barth’s hardly world-shattering Sonata Brillant. Robert Stephenson has written a series of variations that he calls Twinkle Variations (employing that rather well-known tune). Virtuosic and ranging avidly through style, time and place (Calypso, jazz, Britten, Ravel’s Bolero – some explicit, some less so) this is an accomplished performance.

I’ve not mentioned Arthur Rowe – rock solid and imaginative. But really some of Weiger’s playing does, well ... take the breath away.

Jonathan Woolf


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