(Click underlined pieces to hear MP3 format sound clips)
Paul Goodey & Michael Oliva: Xas-Orion (2001)
(oboe, cor anglais and computer)
David Sutton-Anderson: New Ground (1994)
(oboe and piano)
Graham Fitkin: Ostrich on the Plain (1985)
(oboe and wood blocks)
Edwin Roxburgh: At the Still Point of the Turning World... (1979)
(oboe with live delays and treatment)
Michael Oliva: Into the Light (1997)
(cor anglais, oboe and piano)
Timothy Salter: Diptych (Abstractions IV) (1992)
(oboe, cor anglais and piano)
Cecilia McDowall: Fox Woman (2002)
(oboe and voice)
The CD booklet contains (in English, French and German) a description of each piece, a biography and photo of each composer, and the libretto of Fox Woman.
Xas-Orion was conceived by Paul Goodey and Michael Oliva as a duo for oboe and electronics organised in 33 triggered events. Both parts are organised around the note 'B' which forms a core, rather than a tonal centre. The distinction between the the two sound worlds of oboe and electronics is deliberately blurred.
New Ground (by David Sutton-Anderson) is a set of linked variations on Purcell's keyboard piece 'A New Ground' heard at the outset.
Ostrich on the Plain (by Graham Fitkin) was written in 1985. There were two starting points: first, the manipulation of speed using metric modulation, and second, the sheer effort in playing the oboe.
At the Still Point of the Turning World... (by Edwin Roxburgh) has the sound of the oboe fed through a system of six delays, ranging from 4.2 to 60 seconds, plus filtering and modulation. The whole system is controlled by a graphic score.
Into the Light (by Michael Oliva) is a piece in the Romantic tradition of the tone poem. It takes the form of a journey from death (cor anglais) into a supposed afterlife (oboe) in which the piano plays the role of a sort of 'pulse giver'.
Diptych (Abstractions IV) by Timothy Salter has two movements, the first marked 'with feverish energy' and the second 'reflective yet with intensity; restless, agitated'. The mood at the end of the first movement is carried over into the cor anglais soliloquy that opens the second.
Fox Woman(music by Cecilia McDowall, words by Christie Dickason) uses the oboe in a way that exploits not only its elegance and subtlety, but also its potential for brutality. This range suggests the Japanes myths of fox spirits, dangerous shape-shifters which often took the form of beautiful women.
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"There is a satisfying range of moods, styles and sounds ... and a good deal of accomplished playing and singing. The most immediately attractive pieces are Into the Light (where the cor anglais conducts us from death to the afterlife, then entrusts us to the oboe, like Virgil handing Dante over to Beatrice) and the engaging Ostrich on the Plain. New Ground ingeniously develops variations on the lovely melody of Purcell's A New Ground. The tightly-argued Diptych nods to Bach's use of woodwind. Xas-Orion achieves an intriguing synthesis of two worlds, electronically transforming the sound of the oboe live, and deriving most of the computer's output from the oboe." Barry Witherden, Gramophone
"Xas-Orion ... is spacious and inventive... it sustains its duration well. Roxburgh's work ... proves most effective; he has a strong sense of his resources, with Goodey an able advocate." Carl Rosman, International Record Review
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Paul Goodey (oboe, cor anglais) studied at the Royal College of Music to Masters' level, and then at the University of Southern California. His doctoral research explores new means of composing with the oboe and live electronics using analyses and transformation of multiphonics, and other contemporary techniques. Concerto performances include Holliger's Siebengesang, Goossens, Vaughan-Williams and Lutoslawski - two performances with the composer. He has given recitals throughout the U.K. and in Europe, the United States, Canada and India. Recordings include works for Radio 3 and 4, the Discovery Channel, Channel 4 and works for stage. Since 1997 he has been the oboist with the contemporary chamber ensemble, Sounds Positive, with whom he has given over 50 premières in London venues such as St. John's Smith Square, the Warehouse and the Royal Opera House. He is Director of Postgraduate studies and Head of Wind, Brass & Percussion at Trinity College of Music, and has recently been awarded a Doctorate by the Royal College of Music for "increasing the expressive potential of the oboe".
Sally Mays is a pianist of international repute. She performs in many parts of the world, returning to her native Australia annually to broadcast and première new works, many of them written for her. She is a soloist and a chamber musician of distinction, playing with the Hermes, Alexandra, Lavolta and Sounds Positive ensembles. She is the editor of Australian Piano Music, a seven volume project of contemporary piano music published by Currency Press of Sydney, which has been hailed as the Australian 'Microcosmos'.
Tim Palmer (percussion) has played in guest principal positions with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, English Northern Philharmonic and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He studied at the Liszt Academy, Budapest; National Centre for Orchestral Studies, London; Clare College, Cambridge; and the Guildhall School of Music, where he was funded by a Countess of Munster Scholarship. He is a member of the New Music Players, currently resident at York University.
Linda Hirst (voice) is known throughout the world of new music for her concerts, broadcasts and recordings of living composers' music. From 1974 to 1978 a Swingle Singer, she then co-founded Electric Phoenix - with both groups she travelled the world. Highlights of her work with composers are Ligeti's Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, Berio's A. Ronne, Folk songs and Recital and Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers. Her work for many years was in close collaboration with the London Sinfonietta; she has appeared in the Proms, and Festivals in Edinburgh, Metz, Tokyo, Huddersfield, Aldeburgh, Berlin, Lisbon, Vienna; with Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Gielen, Oliver Knussen and sung in opera for Glyndebourne, the ROH Garden Venture, ENO's Contemporary Opera Studio, Frankfurt Alte Oper and La Fenice. Linda Hirst is Head of Vocal Faculty at Trinity College of Music, and teaches at Dartington International Summer School and Cambridge Early Music Courses with the Hilliard Ensemble.
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Paul Goodey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Oliva can be contacted at email@example.com
David Sutton-Anderson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Graham Fitkin can be contacted at via his web site, www.fitkin.com
Cecilia McDowall can be contacted at email@example.com, or via her web site, www.ceciliamcdowall.co.uk
Tas Kyprianou (photographer) can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you like new music, try the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM).