With a title like
Down a River of Time this disc could all too easily
sound like one of those light classical mood complications.
In fact, it is far from this, being an interesting selection
of oboe concertos ranging from the baroque to contemporary.
Andrea Gullickson maintains a busy concert schedule in parallel
with being Professor of Music at Butler University. It is
Dr. Gullickson's research into 18th century music
for oboe which informs this recital.
with Telemann's Concerto in D minor for oboe, strings and
continuo, written in the slightly old fashioned four-movement
(slow, fast, slow, fast) format. Her playing is beautifully
mellifluous, with a rich dark tone. The effortless playing
shows off Telemann's lovely, free-flowing lyrical expression.
She is finely
accompanied by Brazilian-born conductor Lucia Matos and the
Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. In the opening movement
I did wonder whether the strings were a little over-opulent,
this is definitely not a period-aware performance. But on
a mixed recital like this, we can't really expect too much.
The orchestra turn in a nicely crisp performance in the faster
movements and I warmed to their playing, thanks to the player’s
lovely timbre and the musicality of the performance.
the Telemann with a late 18th century French piece,
written by François Joseph Garnier, an oboist in the Opera
orchestra. With its elegant line and musical charm, it straddles
the classical and romantic periods, with beauty of vocal line
being more important than virtuosity. Gullickson plays the
work with elegance and whilst it may not be a forgotten masterpiece,
it reeks of 18th century Parisian charm. The solo
line is influenced by vocal writing, especially in the third
and fourth movements, recitative and aria.
Mozart wrote his
oboe concerto for Giuseppe Ferlendis, a celebrated virtuoso
of the time. Ferlendis's Concerto no. 1 in F major was rediscovered
in 1919 and initially thought to be by Mozart. It is very
Mozartian in cast, attractive and well constructed. The orchestral
accompaniment is ideal, crisp and lithe. Gullickson clearly
relished the sparkling final movement with its opportunity
The next concerto
is another find, Wolf-Ferrari's Idillio-Concertino.
Wolf-Ferrari wrote it in 1932 after some 25 years devoted
mainly to opera. It is difficult to place the style, which
is rather old-fashioned for its time. It mixes hints of neo-classicism
with elements of Tchaikovsky's string writing and only occasional
hints of 20th century music. The five movements
are very varied, ranging from the wistful scherzo, the long-breathed
adagio to the perky rondo with a rather sudden ending. As
you might expect from an opera composer, there are times when
you feel there is some sort of dramatic dialogue going on
between soloist and orchestra.
The disc finished
with the concerto by Eric Ewazen, which give the disc its
name. Ewazen studied at the Eastman School of Music and at
Tanglewood. He is a member of the Juilliard faculty. Down
a River of Time was written in 1999, commissioned by oboist
Linda Strommen as a memorial to her father. The title, taken
from an essay by Richard Feagler, relates to the poignant
stories of long gone relatives and friends. It is a charming
work, melodic and well constructed. Like the Wolf-Ferrari,
it brings the aura of a slightly previous age; in this case
Ewazen's work strong evokes, for me, Ralph Vaughan Williams'
The result is
a well put together recital which showcases the lovely playing
of Andrea Gullickson. Lucia Matos and the Czech Philharmonic
Chamber Orchestra provide a fine, vibrant sound and make good
accompanists. With its out of the way repertoire and musical
performances, this is a highly recommendable disc.
see also review by Jonathan Woolf