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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe

What the Media say about Oboe Classics
These links might be useful: a summary of the CD details, and a PDF (printable) version.

Baroque Spirit CD cover (small) CC2001, Baroque Spirit - Telemann, Quantz, Fasch, Brescianello, Pla

"It is clear from this excellently produced CD why they are prize winners in both Japan and Europe ... The playing by La Fontaine throughout this disc is elegant and beautifully balanced, and in the fast movements they display brilliant control, enviable technique and joyous music making." Jane Woolfenden, Double Reed News (UK)

"... exuberant ... including a startlingly showy Trio Sonata for oboes by the Catalan Pla brothers." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine

Schumanns CD cover (small) CC2002, Robert & Clara Schumann - the best of Romantic miniatures

"In this recording, Jeremy Polmear is ideal for these kinds of pieces because his playing is so controlled. The sound he produces varies from the softest, most delicate tones to more powerfully evocative sonorities. Because his control is so masterful Polmear avoids the saccharine sweetness that tempts lesser artists. His vibrato is solid, not too quick or too slow; he applies it appropriately. As a result, his phrasing is impeccable; his gorgeous tone is warm, mellow, but always strong." Patrick Meanor, Fanfare Magazine (USA)

"Jeremy Polmear ... is an expressive player, relishing the long line of the slow movement of the Volkston set, and with Diana Ambache finding just the right touch for the mischevious phrasing of its middle movement. There is much elegant and accomplished music-making here, as well as a lively sense of fun ... the commitment of both players and the attractiveness of the music will give much pleasure." Peter Branscombe, International Record Review

"Jeremy Polmear ... is no slouch as a performer. His enjoyable programme, with Diana Ambache, of music by the Schumanns inevitably consists mostly of arrangements: the cello Pieces in Folk Style transfer especially well to the cor anglais." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine designated this the Benchmark recording (best available version) for this repertoire.

"Works for oboe or cor anglais by Robert and Clara Schumann are elegantly played by the new label's artistic director, Jeremy Polmear, with Diana Ambache at the piano" Anthony Holden, Observer

"A fine album by Jeremy Polmear." American Record Guide

New Ground CD cover (small) CC2003, New Ground - seven world première recordings

"Paul Goodey is a persuasive advocate for an engaging selection of contemporary music, including Edwin Roxburgh's 1979 At the Still Point of the Turning World..., which uses electronic delay and treatment to create an entire grazing flock of oboes, and Cecilia McDowall's White Fox Woman, a sinister little scena for voice and oboe especially written for the disc." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine, awarding the performance a four star (excellent) rating.

"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

Han de Vries CD cover (small) CC2004, The Art of Han de Vries - concertos spanning two decades from an international career

"The doyen of Dutch oboists, Han de Vries, is heard to great advantage in familiar concertos by Bach and Mozart, a lively Weber-like Concertino by the Bohemian Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda, Telemann's remarkable C minor Concerto played on a Baroque instrument, and Louis Andriessen's 1969 Anachronie II, in which pastiche 'wallpaper music' is attacked by eruptions of ultra-modernism." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine

Rare Goossens CD cover (small) CC2005, Rare Goossens

"Historic recording of Léon Goossens, a great oboist caught in his prime" Headline over a feature article by John Warrack in Gramophone

"A reissue of the 1927 Bax quintet is the centrepiece of this enterprising disc ... but one reminder of the British oboist's wonderfully eloquent gifts." Anthony Holden, Observer

"A collection of early recordings by Léon Goossens ... includes numerous examples of his Kreisler-like way with lighter music, and a wonderfully rhapsodic 1927 account of the Bax Quintet." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine

"Woodwind specialists as well as Baxians will want to snap up this lovingly compiled and presented disc." Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International. For the complete review on the Classical Music Web site, click here.

"This is a fine after-dinner wine of a recording, worth listening to at leisure, without interruption, so as to marvel over the extraordinary facility and exquisite taste of one of the finest instrumentalists of any age." Barry Brenesal, Fanfare (USA)

Pasculli CD cover (small) CC2006, Pasculli - the Paganini of the oboe

"What a great party disc this makes. The opening number in the program, Le Api (The Bees), will have you and your guests rolling on the floor. We all know Oscar Levant's famous quip, "The oboe is an ill wind that no one blows any good". Well, British oboist Christopher Redgate blows it very good indeed, and pianist Stephen Robbings seems to have lots of fun accompanying him in these delectable bonbons." Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine

"This is a disc to open the ears of all oboists, and to entertain and astonish less specialist music-lovers." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine

"The enterprising new label Oboe Classics maintains its highest standards with a sample of the fiendishly difficult music written by Antonino Pasculli, the 19th-century composer-performer known as the 'Paganini of the Oboe'. Christopher Redgate needs all his considerable virtuosity to negotiate the fiendish challenges set by Pasculli on themes from Verdi, Meyerbeer and Donizetti, not to mention the 'characteristic study' Le Api (The Bees). This is fascinating music played with extreme panache." Anthony Holden, Observer

"Christopher Redgate is an oboist who thrives on technical demands, the more extreme the better, and his disc is a remarkable tour de force." Christopher Hooker, Double Reed News

"This is an incredible CD for everyone who enjoys brilliant performers and performances." Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

Mozart CD cover (small) CC2007, The oboe in Mozart chamber music

"The enterprising Oboe Classics label continues its confident progress through the repertoire with a unique recording of all Mozart's chamber music featuring the oboe - and some that doesn't, but transfers very naturally, as in the case of the F major violin sonata. 'Almost as if he had a wind instrument in mind', says Jeremy Polmear, whose beguiling performance with Diana Ambache is entirely persuasive. A must for oboe-philes; a rare treat for Mozartians." Anthony Holden, Observer

"Jeremy Polmear is a fine oboist with a lovely tone and an agile technique, and the members of the Ambache Chamber Ensemble are in all ways his equal in elegance and enthusiasm. And the sound is as discrete and refined as the playing and the music." James Leonard, All Music Guide, USA

"This CD is a joyous example of first class music making by a team of musicians whose delight in the music is matched by their involvement in their instruments... there are a couple of delightful surprises, notably the ensemble's beautiful performance of the Adagio and Jeremy Polmear's exceptionally enjoyable performance on the oboe of the F major Violin Sonata, which certainly seems equally ideal on the wind instrument." Denby Richards, Musical Opinion

"The Oboe Quartet presents Jeremy Polmear's admirable musicianship and agile technique in excellent balance. The first movement communicates his obvious pleasure in performing this marvellous music... K580a is likely to have been intended for clarinet and three basset horns. This music, however, seems so ideally suited to this medium and to the persuasively mellifluous tones of Jeremy Polmear's cor anglais. By the final repeat of the main cantabile melody he seems to have found even more sensitivity..." Clive Fairbairn, Double Reed News, UK

Lovers CD cover (small) CC2008, Though Lovers be Lost - music shadowing the two world wars

"I guess I'm a sucker for French music, and an even bigger sucker for English music. But that's not the only reason this CD has made me cry so many times already. Here is a musician: a perfect technique - let's dispose of that issue right now. A rich tone, but who cares? It's what she does with that tone - everything, every color, every dynamic, every variety of vibrato, everything in the service of a huge musical heart backed by a huge musical brain." Jeanne Belfy in 'The Double Reed', the journal of the International Double Reed Society

"This memorable recital... is beautifully recorded in Suffolk's Potton Hall... and performed with beguiling insight and affection." Julian Haycock, International Record Review

"They offer the listener glittering performances that capture the drama and the changing moods of these works. One is compelled to listen." Tess Miller, Double Reed News UK

"With a pungently characterised account of Britten's dazzling and nervy Temporal Variations (1936), this makes a very rewarding anthology." Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone

"The arrangement of Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin does work ... both players catch the blend of elegance and heartache in these pieces: the central Fourlane and Menuet are particularly poignant." Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine

"I am impressed with the quality of the production... the sound quality is excellent and the playing is second to none." John France, MusicWeb International

Renaissance CD cover (small) CC2009, An English Renaissance - music inspired by Léon Goossens

"George Caird is a splendid soloist throughout, and the string group play with a remarkably integrated and raptly communicative ensemble style, consistently conveying their deep feeling for all this music. The recording is excellently balanced." Ivan March, Gramophone"

"Let me not beat about the bush. This is one of the most important British chamber music releases for a number of years... Firstly it presents three major English chamber classics of the 20th century. Secondly it introduces two works that deserve to be seen on the same level, and last but not least this is a beautifully produced and brilliantly played recital." John France, MusicWeb International [who chose this as his CD of the Year, 2006]

"This CD holds a feast of music for oboe and strings. The pieces are well programmed, the contrast of musical styles enabling one to enjoy listening to the whole CD at a sitting."Roger Lord, Double Reed News

"George Caird and his friends project the five works with a fresh quality which owes much to the quality of the recording ... the tone colours he coaxes from his Püchner oboe particularly suit the variety of moods in the eight sections of Moeran's Fantasy Quartet and the remarkably attractive Quintet by Dorothy Gow. This is much more than a CD for oboe addicts. The essence and quality of these pieces is exactly what the title promises. This is for music lovers of all kinds." Denby Richards, Musical Opinion

"All beautifully played by the oboist George Caird with some expert chamber-musician friends." Anthony Holden, The Observer

Ready Steady Blow! CD cover (small) CC2010, Ready Steady Blow! - music for beginner oboists
[These comments are from teachers and pupils.]

"What a brilliant idea! Well played and beautifully produced, this CD is great for inspiring people to carry on or even take up the oboe." Nicholas Daniel, International oboe soloist

"Several of my pupils and my colleagues' pupils have bought a copy and have enthused about its inspiration... I will continue to use it in my lessons and recommend it to both teachers and their pupils." Nicola Fairbairn, Double Reed News UK"

"This CD has no doubt gone towards my daughter Harriet continuing her oboe. I often play it on the kitchen player (because I like it) and Harriet (10 years old now) often says she looks forward to playing 'that' tune, or gets her oboe out to practice - I don't think we could wish for better!" Jill Gribbin

"Ready Steady Blow is a great CD as it contains different genres of music played by oboists and accompanied by pianists making it enjoyable to listen to. I have difficulty with rhythm and when asked to play Easy Tiger, Cat Walk and Hot Chilli with the piano for the first time, I remembered when to come in, the dynamics and even the rhythm. From following these pieces through with the CD, it helped me to play these tunes after one lesson of learning all three. It is now helping me with other rhythms of pieces which are not on the CD. I listen to the piece in my head, which is like listening to it on a CD, and put it into practice. I hope there will be many more CDs for beginner oboists as fun and as helpful as this one." Emily Williams, age 12

"I really enjoyed listening to the CD. It really helped to get my sound purer than it was. I enjoyed all the pieces but my favourite ones were Air by Handel, Purcell Air, Mozart La Ci Darem, Dragonfly by Pam Wedgwood, Parker Sunday Morning and Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter." Jessie Chorley, owner of the hands on the CD cover

Janet Craxton CD cover (small) CC2011, Janet Craxton - music for oboe and strings commissioned by Janet Craxton

"Craxton's impeccable technical address, naturalness of expression, recreative flair and subtlety of nuance are an absolute joy throughout: what a wonderfully eloquent, selfless performer she was! With its lavish presentation and excellent remasterings, this enterprising compilation should not be missed by any connoisseur of the instrument and deserves every possible success."
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone

"Craxton's playing is simply superb... The tone is remarkably rich and varied, the precision - especially in complex rhythms - not merely admirable but physically thrilling. But it's her expression that impressed me most of all. Far from having one expressive style which she applies to more or less everything, Craxton approaches each piece on its own terms: coaxing out poetry here, scooping deep into the notes and drawing up gold the next. This clearly affected the other players: the sense of absorption, whether in the spiny lyricism of Elisabeth Lutyens' Driving out the Death or in the surprisingly desolate finale of the [Lennox] Berkeley [Quartet], lingers long after the disc is over. Recommended."
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine

"The booklet notes are extensive, running to 24 pages. They include many reminiscences of Craxton, while not shying away from occasional technical detail. It is marvellous that this material has at last seen the light of day, and the disc is urgently recommended." Carl Rosman, International Record Review

"This is a thornier blend of oboe pieces than is usual from Oboe Classics but it's well worth the effort."
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

"These issues include especially rewarding Quartets by Elizabeth Maconchy, Lennox Berkeley, and Elisabeth Lutyens' truly remarkable 'Driving out the Death'" Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph

"In all these wonderful quartets, I admire the range of musical expression, intense musicality, tone colours, control (particularly Janet's control of diminuendos), intonation over huge intervals as well as fluent finger technique and immaculate tonguing. In her teaching Janet always emphasised the importance of being faithful to the composer, and in these performances all the players make this a priority. The quartets become so alive with the interplay between the oboe and the string players, and the ensemble throughout is impeccable." Valerie Taylor, Double Reed News (UK)

"The quality of Craxton's wonderfully distinctive playing shines through." Andrew Clements, Guardian

The Oboe 1903 - 1953 CD cover (small) CC2012, The Oboe 1903 - 1953 - a double CD of historic recordings

"It should be in the collection of everyone who loves the oboe, whether professional or amateur. Oboe Classics deserves our gratitude for bringing back to life these great ghosts of the past."
Neil Black, Double Reed News (UK)

"Generally speaking, the larger the sampling, the more meaningful the effort. One is thus very glad to have no less than 140 minutes of recorded oboe playing from eight different countries over a full half-century recorded here." Michael Finkelman, The Double Reed (USA)

"My first salvo is a word of praise to the 'backroom boys' [Lani Spahr, for the transfers] - 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." Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

From Leipzig to London CD cover (small) CC2013, From Leipzig to London - Duo Sonatas from the 18th (J S Bach) and 20th Centuries

"A cleverly designed programme... Althea Ifeka is a superb oboist with a slightly plangent tone that fits well with the harpsichord, as the engaging Gordon Jacob Sonatina shows with its variety of invention, splicing melancholy, wit and geniality... Most stimulating." Ivan March, Gramophone

"The documentation for this CD is seriously impressive. So many recording companies supply minimalist background for their products. However, Oboe Classics provides what in my opinion are near perfect programme notes. This is a 24-page booklet that includes an impressive 3500 word essay - given in English and in German. These notes are written by the performers and are erudite, entertaining and useful. The quality of the sound is perfect for this kind of music. I could just shut my eyes and imagine that this was being presented ‘live’ in my music room. John France, MusicWeb International. For the full review, click here.

The Sheba Sound CD cover (small) CC2014, The Sheba Sound - a double CD crossing musical boundaries

"Great entertainment. It can be played as a background to a meal or household chores yet with so many assertive blandishments that you will be glad to interrupt and listen or to be happy to listen in breaks in conversation. The single-width set is most thoroughly annotated and there are plenty of evocative photos as well.

"This revival was a thoughtful and cleverly considered and executed project; typical of all Oboe Classics’ releases. A winner and not just for cross-over children of the seventies and eighties. It’s a natural for Christmas or any other season and a better than pleasant diversion after you have surfeited on Pettersson symphonies, Bax tone poems or Schoenberg quartets." Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

"The Sheba Sound has brought music to places as far away as Oman, with impeccable performing standards. Catherine Smith, who created the ensemble, has earned the accolade of these recordings from Oboe Classics... The baroque works are played with a pleasing absence of 'authentic' mannerisms projected by beautiful oboe, bassoon and harpsichord playing." Edwin Roxburgh, Double Reed News (UK)

oboe+ CD cover (small) CC2015, Oboe+ - Berio and Beyond

"This extraordinary disc from the oboe fanatic's label is a showcase for multiphonics, triple tonguing, flutter tonguing and circular breathing. But while the sounds and their production are compelling, this is intensely meaningful virtuosity... Although primarily an interpreter, Redgate improvises on "Le Api" ("The Bees") by 19th century oboist Antonino Pasculli, blasting through a compendium of extended techniques like a free jazz wildman... Forget the instrument's bucolic image, this is a great recording of new music." The Wire

"The works receive performances which are both technical feats of virtuosity as well as the products of a virtuosic imagination. Interestingly, listening to Sequenza VII after the other works, which push the oboe beyond the extremities of register and technique, reveals new perspectives on the work - never have I experienced such a tender reading of the work, particularly during the final section in which the multiphonics stand so elegantly poised.

"Redgate's programme note claims that Ausgangspunkte, by the performer's brother, Roger Redgate, is 'the most difficult work in the repertoire', a claim which to this listener certainly seems justified. The work leaps across and beyond the register in both rapid and slow passages, instilling a response in the listener which is both agitated and compelling. Despite its no doubt rigorous compositional structures, the kaleidoscopic and menagerie-like hysteria makes for an intensely physical experience and it is amongst Redgate's finest works.

"Michael Finnissy writes so well for wind and Pavasiya is a powerful, yearning work for oboe and oboe d'amore. Despite the flurries which occur sporadically, the impression is one of sustained lyricism - no quasi-romantic gestures here, though, but an earthy, primeval force, free of cultivated clutter.

"The disc opens with a solo improvisation featuring a whirlwind of trills of all kinds, including extraordinary multiphonic trilling, which bears comparison to the solo improvisations of saxophonist Evan Parker." Philip Thomas, Society for the Promotion of New Music Magazine

"Berio's Sequenza VII is a classic of the genre... Michael Finnissy's music is by turns seamless, slow and ritualistic, and then insistantly forceful. Roger Redgate and Sam Hayden both create a stark, manic and violent landscape where the dynamic of fortissimo is continually energised into new territories. Michael Young's piece with interactive computer explores a deeper colourful world of expression... Throughout, Christopher Redgate gives everything, not only in terms of his commitment, but also in his undying energy." Melinda Maxwell, Double Reed News (UK)

Melodic Lines CD cover (small) CC2016, Melodic Lines - music for oboe, bassoon and piano

"Another excellent package from Oboe Classics. Inspired repertoire, superb sound and exemplary programme notes. Brilliant! ...

"As I finished listening to this CD I tried to work out what piece had impressed me most. This is not an easy question. Perhaps it had to be Madeleine Dring with her Trio which is so different from the received reputation of her as being a ‘children’s’ composer. Maybe it is the Stoker with its nods towards the Gallic moods of his teacher. But finally I feel it has to be the Trio by Geoffrey Bush - a well balanced and poignant work that both moves and inspires. " John France, MusicWeb International. For the full review, click here.

"This CD presents a fine anthology of repertoire for oboe, bassoon and piano. In fact, I cannot recall another CD devoted to this excellent format ... I thoroughly recommend this CD ... [it] is accompanied by a copious set of informative programme notes containing details of the works, the composers and the players. A personal touch I particularly like is the reporting, by Jeremy Polmear, of conversations he has had with the living composers represented here." Richard J Moore, Double Reed News, UK

Britten Metamorphoses CD cover (small) CC2017, Britten Metamorphoses - study CD with large booklet in DVD case

"The booklet is a major production that surely sets the standard for any future venture of this order.

"Three excellent performances of this work - two contemporary and one historical, the first broadcast performance - are showcased here. I am not going to express a preference for any particular version - suffice it to say that all three are essential for an in-depth appreciation of this great work.

"... it is a major reference document that needs to be regarded as an important contribution to Britten studies." John France, MusicWeb International.

"This excellent CD and booklet will be of use to anyone interested in the Metamorphoses. George Caird's meticulous research... takes the booklet far beyond liner notes usually provided...

"Boughton's 1952 performance... is spirited and highly successful... Caird's and Daniel's quality performances are new, digital versions. The three interestingly conjure very different worlds, ...and it is extremely useful to have them side by side.

"This CD will be invaluable in producing a new generation of informed yet crucially individual performances of this ever-fascinating work." Julia White, Double Reed news (UK)

This CD was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2008.

Oboe Divas CD cover (small) CC2018, Oboe Divas! - Operatic Duos and Ensembles from Handel to Wagner

"This program embodies what I love about opera and music so much. It runs a wide spectrum of emotions depicted in music, from nonchalance to determination, from the care-free joy in the simple pleasures to the pursuit of forbidden love and seduction. It's all here."
David Schwartz, American Record Guide

"All the items are well recorded and have lively playing, especially from the two main protagonists whose delightful but slightly varied tones are a pleasure in themselves. Cunning ordering ensures variety of texture and character throughout, and lengthy and interesting notes are provided. Clearly this will appeal especially to enthusiasts of the opera or the oboe, but it deserves a much wider circulation." John Sheppard, MusicWeb International

"The nine major selections begin with a ravishing rendition of Delibes' Flower Duet... and the Divas found a moving conclusion with the opening scene from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin... they weave and match their sinuous timbres; but when Douvas returns to the low register, you can just about eat it with a spoon." Jeanne Belfy, The Double Reed.
This review comments on each track in detail. You can see the whole review as a (printable) PDF file here.

"... So did our heroines clinch the deal? It depends on where you set the bars. There are soaring lines, flying fingers, gorgeous sounds... But did they better Mme. X in opera Y on night Z? I can't say for sure; I wasn't there. But I wouldn't argue against it. Enjoy." George Chien, Fanfare Magazine (US)

"... the title of the CD is perhaps a misnomer - Pailthorpe and Douvas democratically share the principal parts and are simply too good as chamber musicians to hog the limelight. The accompanying booklet is excellent, the notes filling us in on the stories in an easily digestible way; and there are many photographs, of the performers as well as the composers. A recommended buy!" Gareth Hulse, Double Reed News (UK)

Antares CD cover (small) CC2019, Antares - oboe music by Edwin Roxburgh

"... here, as throughout, Roxburgh's chosen interpreter and friend Paul Goodey rises to every technical and rhythmic challenge.... The brief Silent Strings... does not eschew lyricism, though a lyricism not in the sense of sugary cantilena but in a much wider sense of 'song' as something related to, even emerging out of, all aspects of life itself. Anyone who can grasp the difference will be both challenged and rewarded by this music."
Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review

"It is self-evident that the skill of oboist Paul Goodey and of pianist Sally Mays and the other performers is phenomenal. And the programme notes are fulsome." John France, MusicWeb International

"The high point of the Oboe Classics set is Shadow Play (1984) for two oboes and cor anglais, in which Roxburgh builds a counterpoint from overlaid multiphonics, and the choir of three oboists pursue a beautifully heard performance." Philip Clark, Gramophone

"Antares for oboe and piano is one of two pieces on this disc written to celebrate the playing of Léon Goossens. Contemporary techniques are intricately woven into the dialogue between oboe and piano, executed magnificently by both performers. Mays’ agile fingerwork combined with Goodey’s technical prowess make for a very fine performance." Jennifer Galloway, Double Reed News

Orpheus Elegies CD cover (small) CC2020, Orpheus Elegies - music by Harrison Birtwistle

"Wary of Harrison Birtwistle in bulk? Try him in miniature in these 26 musings on his recurring obsession... He's still a thorny composer, though brevity and simplicity of means generate immediate rewards... Even the booklet notes are splendid." Geoff Brown, The Times

"The range of musical processes and the power with which Birtwistle invests the writing is extraordinary. The pieces seem like snapshots from different perspectives of some vast, barely graspable musical object... This is a fabulously committed, expressively pliable performance, and the arrangements of three arias from Bach cantatas that Birtwistle made as a companion piece... is the perfect complement."
Andrew Clements, BBC Music Magazine

"All three performers, in recordings that balance exemplary clarity of focus with finely sculpted detail, are wholly 'inside' the piece's flexible yet inexorable formal design, which the composer describes in the admirably detailed booklet notes as 'like postcards with cryptic text'." Arnold Whittall, Gramophone

"Ranging from the Stravinskyan, machine-like ticking of Elegy 8 and the hard-edged, flinty beauty of Elegy 7 to the restless discontinuity of Elegy 12 and the metronomic variances of Elegy 25, these vignettes prove to be absolutely compelling. The pairing of long-standing musical colleagues Maxwell and Tunstall, from both the London Sinfonietta and the Endymion Ensemble, is ideal. The silvery legato, skittering semiquaver runs and archaic-sounding multiphonics of Maxwell contrast with Tunstall's resonant, deeply seductive timbres. Andrew Watts ... negotiates the occasionally vertiginous melodic leaps with absolute assurance, at the same time convincing you this is some of the most exquisite vocal music in the composer's entire output." Peter Quinn, International Record Review

"They are like enchanted preludes... Enchantingly performed here." Paul Driver, The Sunday Times

"With the three artists on this recording Birtwistle has the good fortune to have his music presented with all the intellect, sensitivity and passionate artistry he could wish for." Edwin Roxburgh, Double Reed News.
You can see the whole of composer Edwin Roxburgh's detailed review as a (printable) pdf file here.

"It takes time and a number of hearings, with text, to get a grip of the inner meaning of these Elegies, but the first impressions are not of 'difficult' music by any stretch. Enigmatic yes, and filled with complicated meaning and message, but so is any good poem... Altogether this is an unusual and rather special disc, which fans of the oboe, of British contemporary music and of Birtwistle should certainly acquire."
Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International

"The performances are well-nigh perfect, but the most affecting of the three is Melinda Maxwell. Her oboe soars and leaps with tragic intensity over the deep thrummings of Helen Tunstall's harp."
Telegraph Saturday Review

Frozen River CD cover (small) CC2021, Frozen River Flows - New Noise

"Under normal circumstances having heard a new Oboe CD I would put it into my collection in Germany for my students to comment on, but they just can’t wrench this one out of my hands yet! I’m so happy to have the chance to share my enthusiasm and to encourage people not to be scared just because it’s new music, but to buy it and support the intrepid work of New Noise in their voyage of discovery.

"The composers on this fabulous disc range from absolutely wild to superbly cool, and all the works here have something important to say in their way. What I love about the choice of pieces is a wonderful catholicity of taste, huge variety of sounds and acoustic recording styles, and that the performers choose works for recording by their quality alone.

"The sheer talent and professionalism of the duo is completely outstanding; each of the performances is in every way riveting." Nicholas Daniel, Double Reed News (UK)

"Bless Jeremy Polmear's Oboe Classics for their spirit of intrepid endeavour. That was exactly what it took to produce this anthology drawing on music from so many brave new worlds of the creative imagination."
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

Phillip Sommerich, Classical Music Magazine: * * * *

"This brave album should increase exposure for their unique talents." Keith Ames, The Musician

music for oboe, horn and piano CD cover (small) CC2022, music for oboe, horn and piano

"This is one of those surprising niche releases that affords considerable and unalloyed pleasure. The performances in every case are top-notch and utterly idiomatic, and set in a flattering recording space that provides good perspective and a bit of resonance... this release is enthusiastically recommended."
James A. Altena, Fanfare Magazine (USA)

"Throughout the disc, Jeremy Polmear's vibrant and poetic sound is partnered by Stephen Stirling's effortless chamber music playing and imaginative range of horn colours." George Caird, Double Reed News

"Mozart's Horn Quintet arranged for horn, oboe and piano? Well, oddly enough it works; and makes a fascinating opening to this beautifully recorded recital. Herzogenberg's Brahms-like Trio is the largest item on the disc, but keep an ear out for Paul Basler's jazzy Vocalise-Waltz and Jean-Michel Damase's Poulencesque Trio." Guy Weatherall, Classical Music Magazine

"Mozart's Trio transcription has been accomplished very adeptly... especially pleasing is the songful duet between the oboe and horn in the slow movement, not to forget the energy and brio with which all three musicians play the Rondo finale. The recorded sound at Wyastone Leys is first class. If this combination of instruments appeals, and there's no real reason why it shouldn't, you'll find music that is engaging, clever and often quietly memorable." Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

"It is often said that Herzogenberg's music is derivative and rather academic but the committed performance here belies this." Paul Sawbridge, The Horn Magazine

"Oboe, horn and piano is a rare but oddly beguiling blend of timbres... but it can be richly rewarding, as demonstrated here by Polmear, Stirling and Saxel... Most engaging of all is Air Arabe by H Molbe (pseudonym of a Bach presumably seeking his own identity), a slow, Romantic waltz of wistful tone and lightness of touch." Andy Gill, Independent

"This Trio of British musicians showcases the art of playing chamber music at an extremely high level...
[the CD] should be in the library of all who are interested in horn, oboe, and chamber music."
Paul Austin, The Horn Call (USA)

cor! CD cover (small) CC2023, cor! - Alison Teale plays cor anglais

"It took a while to pluck up the courage to listen to a CD devoted to music for solo cor anglais... I'm glad I did. Alison Teale is a virtuosic advocate for an instrument you don't often hear outside an orchestral context. But music of this variety, played as brilliantly as this, will always delight."
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

"Alison Teale succeeds admirably in conveying the multifaceted personality of the cor anglais. But the recital is far more than admirable, it is at times entrancing. If you've ever been curious about what the cor anglais can do, then do buy the disc."
Planet Hugill - Classical Music blog from Robert Hugill. You can read the whole review here.

"Alison Teale proves herself a virtuoso of the cor anglais in terms of both excitement and poetry. This disc should win new friends and future champions for the instrument."
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International. You can read the whole review here.

"A hypnotic account of Messiaen's Vocalise, the spicy sound palette of Falla's El amor Brujo, and a luscious pas de deux with pianist Elizabeth Burley in the slow movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G showcase the BBCSO principal's entrancing sound, while Lucchetti's Rock song no 3 takes takes the instrument into new territory." Phillip Sommerich, Classical Music Magazine

"Luchetti's Rock Song No 3, coming as it does between the gentle Rubbra Duo and Bozza's charming Divertissement, really highlights the difference between what is 'expected' from the cor anglais and the virtuoso pyrotechnics of which, in the right hands, it is capable."
Christine Pendrill (cor anglais, London Symphony Orchestra), Double Reed News

"When an artist of the calibre of Alison Teale dedicates herself to the cor anglais, it quickly becomes one of the most beguiling and magical instruments you can hear. The repertoire on this simply gorgeous disc is so enjoyable and so beautifully played that I will donate one to my student's collection in my studio in Germany to show them how it should be done! Essential listening." Nicholas Daniel

Han box CD cover (small) CC2024, Han de Vries - The Radio Recordings

"This is a handsome tribute to Han de Vries, with an excellently annotated booklet, and with plenty to stimulate, intrigue and excite."
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International (The full review analyses each disc.)

"I will have to restrict myself to highlights, but not before making the general comment that not one track is short of compelling... The quality of the recordings is even more remarkable when one realises that they are, for the most part, live. Not only are they close to technically perfect but, being unedited, they possess a high level of integrity as performances... In short: a necessity for the oboist's studio and college library." Geoffrey Burgess (co-author of The Oboe) in the UK Double Reed News and the International The Double Reed; click for the full (printable) review.

"At the radiant centre there is that very personal way of playing the oboe. Some music enables the listener to long for unknown and remote perspectives, worlds that nobody knows. If there is one instrument that is able to reproduce the radiance of this desire it is the oboe. And if there is a single oboist who has realized this to the full it is Han de Vries."
Thiemo Wind, De Telegraaf, Netherlands

"Han de Vries is a poetic musician with an intense melodiousness and a flawless, lean tone, of a melting elegance and beauty, and of such poignant power that it almost hurts."
Erik Voermans, Het Parool, Netherlands

"Let us hope that this impressive, beautifully edited edition will inspire others... there always is a reason to open up documents of this kind to a wider audience. And if it is done in such an exemplary manner as is the case with this box, one can speak of an ideal production."
Jan Jaap Kassies, Netherlands Broadcasting Music Center (MCO)

The French Accent CD cover (small) CC2025, The French Accent
Original performances of Poulenc, Auric and other French composers

"A sumptuous booklet... a cornerstone of both performance and repertoire, and greatly to be welcomed." Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International.
You can read the whole review here.

"Clean remastering... results in a collection well worth the listening. This is a work of genuine import, and attractively complements Dr. Burgess' other effort in this genre [The Oboe 1903-1953]." Michael Finkelman, The Double Reed (US)

"The overwhelming effect is that of an open door into a distant world of inspired creation, elegant French woodwind playing, and a chance to hear how these pieces were performed at their inception." Stephen Colburn, The Double Reed (US). You can read the whole review

The World of the Oboe CD cover (small) CC2026, The World of the Oboe
an introducton to the music, players, reeds and instruments (double CD)

"I have always had an affection for the oboe. The World of the Oboe illustrates perfectly the many qualities of this wonderfully expressive instrument. These two discs not only give you the opportunity to taste the varied repertoire from the classical and romantic periods to the abstract pieces of today, they also give you the chance to hear some of the most exciting oboists and musicians ever recorded.

"And whilst enjoying listening to the music it is a pleasure to read the CD notes which are full of interesting facts and amusing observations. My only reservation is that such a compilation is inevitably a taster - it leaves me wanting more!" Jenny Agutter, Double Reed News (UK)

"I suppose the subtitle of this engaging two-disc set says it best: 'an introduction to the music, players, reeds and instruments'... The music, which is many and various, leads one to wonder whether we may have entered into the Worlds of the Oboe rather than just the singular.

"James MacMillan's Intercession is a seven-minute affair full of pibroch peal and constant timbral interest. Clara Schumann's Romance soon calms things. Such conjunctions are part of the appeal of the discs.

"This would make a pleasurable gift for the enquiring or potentially enquiring oboe lover."
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

English Accents CD cover (small) CC2027, English Accents
oboe players active in England during the 1950s

"Younger players can learn such a lot from the phrasing and musicality
of all the oboe playing here. Those things never date!"
Michael Britton, Double Reed News (UK)

Balkan Bolero CD cover (small) CC2028, Balkan Bolero
Chamber Music of Isidora Žebeljan

"This is an amazingly surprising and rewarding disc that never fails to thrill and excite. It showcases the tonal colours of the cor anglais and oboe as well as the fantastic abilities of soloist Borislav Čičovački. That said, every player deserves recognition for this thoroughly committed playing.

"This disc has been a revelation to me and I cannot wait to explore further the music of this endlessly talented composer. Žebeljan deserves greater exposure; what a wonderful thing it would be to see that some of her music has found its way onto a programme of the BBC Proms; audiences would love it." Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International

"...a belter from the Balkans – wild, dance-like and off-kilter."
Richard Morrison, The Times, on Isidora Žebeljan's music.

Francaix CD cover CC2029, Très Françaix
Chamber Music by Jean Françaix

"Oboist Jeremy Polmear has assembled a top-quality band of British players... unfailingly entertaining, technically brilliant, and likely to be a conservatoire library standard for years to come."
Michael Round, International Record Review

"Jean Françaix's chamber music is delightfully French, with its wit, lightness of touch, quixotic changing of moods, and blending of colours.

"It is most sympathetically played here, helped by a believable balance, with each wind group felicitously blended. Altogether a most infectious and enjoyable collection." Ivan March, Gramophone

"What an airy, charming and altogether lovely album this is! ... Since the texture of the music is so clear in this recording, one can admire the exquisite sense of balance the composer used in his compositions as well as his tonal-but-ambiguous sense of melody and harmony." Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine (USA)

"The technical demands are high and the virtuosity of the ensemble is excellent. The music itself recalls a French style and way of life that has close affiliations with the films of Jacques Tati... listening to this repertoire brings that all back, and the assured performances by all the players catch this very special quality beautifully."
Melinda Maxwell, Double Reed News (UK)

Cuarteto Emispherio CD cover CC2030, Cuarteto Emispherio
Sarah Roper plays Quartets for oboe and strings

"This selection of classical and contemporary quartets is a delight... characterised by gorgeous sonorities from Sarah Roper, refined string playing and an overall recorded sound of clear quality from Jordi Gil and Oboe Classics."
George Caird, Double Reed news (UK)

"The two arrangements of piano pieces by Albèniz work quite delightfully. In Tango, from the suite España, Sarah Roper’s oboe creates some appropriately sinuous melodic lines and the strings are eloquently rhythmical. Where ‘Córdoba’ is concerned — from the collection Chants d’Espagne — I am a ready audience for anything which evokes the city, as this certainly does. In doing so, it makes a gorgeous ending to a very enjoyable CD."
Glyn Pursglove, MusicWeb International

Great Goossens CD cover (small) CC2031, Great Goossens
classic recordings of Léon Goossens

"The recordings on this disc are truly legendary... the result is artistry of incomparable quality, well transferred on this well-filled CD."
Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion

"I cannot praise this CD highly enough. It is a great retrospective of one of the finest oboists of the twentieth century. The programme is well-balanced between serious and lighter pieces. The re-mastering of the original records has made it a pleasure to recapture Goossens’ style and masterly technique."
John France, MusicWeb International

"Not all oboe playing - even good oboe playing - moves me, perhaps because I know how it is done. But Goossens on this album does move me, because I can always feel real human expression behind everything he does.

"Mixing orchestral pieces with smaller works for oboe and piano wouldn’t work in a contemporary album, but it does here - the smaller pieces seem to be a distillation of Goossens’ art. Some of the music is almost children’s music, but it is always played with honesty. If you look at photos of Goossens he looks very masculine, but in these shorter pieces he emphasises his sensitive side."
Han de Vries, Double Reed News (UK)

Tailwind CD coverCC2032, Tailwind
The Gelächter Trio play British music

"One couldn't wish for better performances of these contemporary woodwind works. All are full of inventive spirit, from a Suite of Sweets to the knottier Dark Gravity." Rebecca Franks, BBC Music Magazine

"This is an elegant and elegantly presented anthology of wind music by living British composers." Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

"Everything about this CD I really enjoyed, with precise ensemble and playing of great virtuosity from all the players." David Theodore, Double Reed News. You can read the whole review here.

Blue Bamboo CD coverCC2033, Blue Bamboo
Melinda Maxwell plays jazz and other improvisations

"This album is both a great personal achievement and hopefully a gateway to further listening pleasure... get hold of this CD as quickly as you can to hear a great artist at the peak of her powers." John Harle, Double Reed News, UK
You can read the whole review here.

"Like all my favourite jazz albums, it gives both pleasure and food for thought. There is greater variety than I might have expected. If Monk's Bye-Ya demonstrated how well the oboe could be integrated into a quintessentially jazz world, my own Bamboo convinced me beyond my wildest imaginings, being wonderfully wilder than anything I could have imagined, with the oboe indispensably itself!" Howard Skempton, composer

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