MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             




Further details at:


The Oboe: 1903-1953
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen, Petite Mignon [2.10]
Caesar Addimando (rec.1908)
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Guillaume Tell [3.02  + 3.05]
Georges Gillet (rec. c1905)
 'Giorgio' (rec. 1906)
La nuit de Noël [2.12]
Housset (rec.1903)
First Concertino and Farandole
Joseph Fonteyn (rec.c1910)
Une Soirée près du lac [2.54 + 4.30 + 3.07]
Louis Gaudard (rec. c1910)
Louis Mercier (rec. c1910)
Paul-Gustave Brun (rec. c1926)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Romance no. 1 (1911) [2.58]
Arthur Foreman (rec. c1911)
Charles COLIN
Concertino in D, Andante and Polonaise
Georges Longy (rec.c.1914)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Oboe Quartet K370 [12.44]
Léon Goossens (rec. 1926)
With members of the Spencer Dyke Quartet
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)
Sinfonia in Bb [4.09 + 4.18 + 6.14}
Georges Blanchard (rec. 1927)
with Concertgebouw Orchestra/Willem Mengelberg
Bruno Labate (rec.1929)
with Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/ Willem Mengelberg
Anon oboist (rec.1950)
Berlin State Opera Orchestra/Gmeindl
Erik SATIE (1866-1925)
Gymnopédie 1 [4.21]
Fernand Gillet (rec. 1930)
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Romance and Humoresque [5.57]
Svend Christian Felumb (rec.1937)
with Christian Christiansen (piano)
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
Suite d'après Corrette (1938) [4.31]
Myrtile Morel (rec. 1938)
with Trio d’anches de Paris and Fernand Oubradous (bassoon) and Pierre Lefèbvre (clarinet)
Sonatine Op. 13 pour hautbois et piano (1939) [14.30]
Louis Bleuzet (rec. c 1937-9)
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Sonata in F Op.1 [7.12]
Louis Gromer (rec. c1940)
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Oboe solo – segment [1.16]
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Scheherazade – segment [1.49]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1898) Violin Concerto – second movement, oboe solo, segment [2.49]
Henri de Busscher (rec. 1940s)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1898) Violin Concerto – second movement, oboe solo, segment
Fritz Flemming (rec. 1927) [2.11]
with Fritz Kreisler (violin)/Berlin State Opera Orchestra/Leo Blech
Léon Goossens (rec.1936) [2.19]
with Fritz Kreisler (violin)/LPO/John Barbirolli
Marcel Tabuteau (rec. 1945) [2.35]
with Josef Szigeti (violin)/Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Variations on “La ci darem”
Lois Wann, Ferdinand Prior and Engelbert Brenner (rec. 1939) [9.54]
Sidney Sutcliffe, Roger Lord and Natalie James (rec.1951) [9.47]
Hans Kamesch, Manfred Kautsky and Hans Hadamowsky (rec.1953) [10.28]
Two CDs for the price of one
OBOE CLASSICS CC2012 [70.55 + 69.09]


Error processing SSI file


Translators of foreign fiction are notoriously hard done by. If they’re mentioned at all it’s usually to point out some assumed error. Otherwise, magically, it’s as if there is no intermediary between the author and a reader of his work, as if the translator were some benign representative of the authorial text. They frequently don’t even appear in reviews of the novel. It’s not quite the same thing with transfer engineers. They try to refine the signal and present it optimally. When they work with discs going right back to the early 1900s the chances of having ones own discs for comparative review are small, if indeed one can play 78s. When those old discs have seldom, if ever, been transferred to another medium – LP principally – then the bemused reviewer will often take refuge in his review with the well worn cliché; the transfers by Mr X are excellent, lifelike, full of presence, splendid - take your pick. 

All of this is a preamble to saying that I like Lani Spahr’s transfers. A lot of big name engineers have recently been cutting treble and going for mid-range frequencies and I’ve been spending much of the last year waged in a losing battle with them. Spahr’s are very much to my taste – open and airy, dealing sensitively with shellac noise but never thinking that its removal is the answer, and with a really forward presence. I dug out my 78 set of the Goossens/Spencer Dyke Quartet Mozart Oboe Quartet for comparative purposes - recorded for Compton Mackenzie’s National Gramophonic Society not, as per the notes, National Gramophone Society – the only mistake I could find. Once again, a thoroughly successful transfer. The difficult question of pitching seems to me to have been very convincingly dealt with as well. So my first salvo is a word of praise to the “backroom boys” at Oboe Classics – like translators they should be honoured. My second is to Geoffrey Burgess whose notes are fulsome and full of the kind of specialist detail that enhances a historical project such as this. Biographical detail fuses with technical, tonal and expressive analysis in a compact and articulate way. Photographs of the artists are included as well. Issue numbers are given and sometimes matrix numbers as well – with recording dates where known. All of this should be par for the course for this kind of disc but you’d be surprised how seldom it is. Full marks to this company for treating its material with such respect.

The discs are rare examples of the oboe on record. The 1903-08 sides register with real immediacy – the 1908 Caesar Addimando positively leaps out with amazing impact - so one needn’t fear as to the sound quality. A number of the pieces in the set are duplicated so one can compare and contrast performers and arrangements. Paul-Gustave Brun makes a strong impression with his fast vibrato but adroit musicianship whilst Georges Longy has real panache in his excerpt from before the First War. One can contrast the Goossens/Dyke Mozart with the far better known Goossens/Léner recording (available elsewhere) – and note the differences in portamento and rubato between them.

There are excerpts from Bach’s Sinfonia in B flat played by three different oboists (Blanchard, Labate and an anonymous player) as indeed there are in the case of the slow movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto – probably Fritz Flemming for the Kreisler/Blech, and then Goossens for the Kreisler/Barbirolli, and Tabuteau for the 1945 Szigeti. Gillet’s Satie with Koussevitzky is very slow indeed and the copy issued has a bit of grit (unusually).

Fascinating to hear the hot-off-the-press Milhaud, a baroque tribute so deftly done by Myrtile Morel, and to eavesdrop on Mihalovici’s Sonatine, also new, and played by Louis Bleuzet and Thomas Eran c.1937-39. A fine piece of music as well. The strong French contingent made a big show in the Handel – where Marcelle de Lacour sounds to be a big admirer of Landowska from the sound of her harpsichord and where Louis Gomer makes a persuasive case for the oboe in this repertoire. That wonderful artist Henri de Busscher turns up on some exceptionally rare American instructional records playing orchestral extracts and is well worth hearing.

There’s a full half-century of the oboe on record here. It’s a most accomplished undertaking, compiled with care and expertise, and a bedrock disc for those taken by the instrument.

Jonathan Woolf





Return to Index

Error processing SSI file