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  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
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Ross EDWARDS (b. 1943)
Oboe Concerto (2002)a [17:54]
Yanada (1998) [3:53]
Ulpirra (1993) [1:31]
Diana Doherty (oboe)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestraa/Arvo Volmera
Recorded: Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, June 2004 (Oboe Concerto); other items previously released on ABC Classics 465 7822 (no date)
ABC CLASSICS 476 7173 [23:34]

Edwards’ recent Oboe Concerto was composed for Diana Doherty as recently as 2002. The piece, in a single movement, is more a rhapsody in which the oboe is present almost from first to last than a traditional concerto. It may be considered yet another maninya (song/dance) in all but name. The Concerto opens with an unaccompanied ‘bird call’ followed by a sort of Lutheran chorale. Soon afterwards, the oboe muses along freely to some delicate orchestral accompaniment in a long melodic section, often reminiscent of McPhee’s and Sculthorpe’s Bali-inflected music. At about 12 minutes in, after a short pause, the wood blocks signal the final dance-like section bringing the concerto to a playful and jubilant conclusion. Edwards’ Oboe Concerto is a truly lovely piece of music, often of meditative character and of great melodic charm. It may be somewhat lighter than the beautiful violin concerto Maninyas, but it is an attractive and rewarding work that definitely deserves wider exposure.

This CD single is filled-up with two short pieces for solo oboe. The more recent one Yanada (a word for "moon") is appropriately more atmospheric in character, whereas the slightly earlier and quite short Ulpirra (a word for "flute" or "pipe") is a lively whimsical fantasy originally written for recorder but arranged for oboe in 1998 (a recording of the original version for recorder is available on Tall Poppies TP 051 recently reviewed here).

Doherty plays beautifully throughout and obviously enjoys every note. The recording is excellent and very natural, so that one is spared the extraneous noises (key clicks, etc.) all too often heard in other such recordings. A pity that this really lovely disc is all over much too quickly.

Hubert Culot

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