None of the music here is particularly well known and not all
of it was originally written for oboe and piano. Some corresponds
to practised nineteenth century procedures of operatic scena-like
curlicues; others stitch together folkloric melodies in an elegant
and sophisticated tapestry that offers plenty of opportunities
for the legato-spinning and virtuosity-inclined soloist. As the
twentieth century progresses we find composers still cleaving
strongly to romantic, old fashioned models; nothing therefore
challenges the status quo. Equable ease tends to reign supreme.
Luft was one of many musicians who journeyed eastwards to
St Petersburg in the nineteenth century to help establish
Russian instrumental superiority. He was reputedly the founding
father of the Russian oboe school. His Fantasy on Russian
Folk Themes is a rather typical operatic sounding affair but
filled with light, fluid writing and divided into established
sections. There are plenty of virtuoso runs and high spirits
as well as a more intense slower variation that extracts some
is a scion of the Russian school of course but his Variations
were originally written for oboe and wind band - this arrangement
is by G. Kalinkovitch. There’s a dramatic piano introduction
and the subsequent variations – on a song by Glinka – have
an appealing and only occasionally vapid charm. The most impressive
moment is the fine oboe soliloquy with its arresting rather
military fanfare moments. Glière moves us onto 1908, the
year of Rimsky’s death. His Op.35 was written for a variety
of wind instruments; numbers three and four specifically for
the oboe. The first is very brief and lyric; the second even
briefer and tinged with tristesse.
his Sonatina in 1939. It’s an amiable, larky confection, very
concise – the scherzo lasts a minute and three quarters –
and therefore abjuring all seriousness, even in the slow movement.
Tcherepnin’s here undated Sketches cleave to the School of
Parisian Languor. Marina Dranishnikova’s Poème was written
in 1953 and is reputed to have inspired by an unhappy love
affair. Certainly the piano opens proceedings sternly but
the pleading oboe (male/female?) soon establishes primacy
– the oboe music has a rarefied, lyric beauty and the piano
part Rachmaninovian eloquence. Gorlov wrote his Suite in 1969
though it could have been have 1919 or 1889. The central Vocalise
is its most plangent and successful moment. The ubiquitous
Rimsky Bee sends us on our way.
This is a pleasant,
pleasurable selection very adroitly performed and recorded.
It’s not music for cerebral introspection but then that was
never the intention. It ranges from the virtuosic-bucolic
to the mildly lovelorn without delving much deeper.