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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe

These recordings are not made by Oboe Classics, but are recommended, and can be bought here.

The price is specified with each CD (sometimes cheaper than Oboe Classics!)
In every other way they are the same as buying an Oboe Classics CD. They can be mixed with Oboe Classics CDs
in your order, and they qualify the same for postage, for security, and for processing times.

Light & Shade CD cover
Price £15

Light & Shade
Nicola Hands (oboe, cor anglais), Jonathan Pease (piano)
Gabriel Grovlez: Sarabande et Allegro
Robert Schumann: Romance I, Nicht Schnell
Lamont Kennaway: Watersmeet (cor anglais & piano)
Karl Goepfart: Zwei Characterstücke Op. 27
Emile Paladilhe: Solo pour hautbois
Edmund Rubbra: Duo for cor anglais & piano Op. 156
Marina Dranishnikova: Poem
Eugène Bozza: Divertissement for cor anglais, Op. 39
Camille Saint-Saëns: Sonata, Op. 166

Nicola and her pianist Jonathan Pease have produced a stimulating mixture of well-loved oboe repertoire with pieces that deserve to be - all recorded in a warm studio acoustic.

Among the better-known pieces there is some characterful Grovlez and Bozza, serious Schumann, Rubbra's intense Duo and some effervescent Saint-Saëns. Among the lesser-known pieces, there is a folk-like Watersmeet from Lamont Kennaway and a Charakterstücke by Karl Goepfart. More extensive is the Poem (1953) by Marina Dranishnikova. It is said to have been prompted by an unhappy love for an oboist; whatever the origin, it is intense, beautiful, and unsettling music. [CD number NH; time: 56 mins]

"Overall, Nicola Hands' performances across Light and Shade are a wonderful demonstration of the diversity of the repertoire. The combination of well-loved light-hearted pieces and more unusual and serious works should make this CD attractive not only to oboists but to a wider audience." Bethany Craft and Michael Britton, Double Reed news

Han Box 2 CD cover
Price £74.00

Han de Vries - The almost last recordings
(a box of 18 CDs and a DVD)

Some years ago Oboe Classics released a box of Han de Vries recordings (9 CDs and a DVD) in a limited edition, which is sold out. Producer Peter Bree and the Attacca label have now produced a second box, twice as big.

As before the music spans the oboe repertoire, and there is very little overlap with the previous box or the Oboe Classics catalogue. The full contents is here, and here are some examples of why Han de Vries is unique:

Beautiful in Bach's Canata BWV 12; comforting in Vivaldi Trio Sonata in g; beguiling in Crusell's Divertimento in C;
elegant in Bellini's Concerto in E flat; operatic in Verdi's 'Un de felice', exotic in Rimsky-Korsakov's variations;
deeply-felt in the Hindemith cor anglais Sonata; jazzy in the Breuker Concerto no. 1; collaborative in Danzi's Wind Quintet in B flat op. 56 no. 1 and in Terry Riley's 'In C'.

Like the first box, these tracks will not be available for download or streaming. It's all or nothing! However, the price of this box automatically qualifies it for free postage, worldwide.

"What stands out more than anything across the entire anthology is the loving attention de Vries pays to all the music - every note of it. It is not simple technical prowess at show, but dedicated passion that comes through with each gesture, each utterance. His interpretation of standard works sometimes stands apart from traditional approaches, but one can never fault their distinctive character and conviction."
Geoffrey Burgess, The Double Reed (USA)
[CD number H2; time: 21 hours 28 minutes]

Love's Lore CD cover
Price £11.99

Love's Lore
Stella Dickinson (oboe, cor anglais) and London Virtuosi/Paul Hart

16 folk melodies, including:
I'll give my love an apple
The lark in the clear air
The oak and the ash
Women of Ireland
Annie Laurie
Blow the wind southerly

The first track, I'll give my love an apple, sets the tone for the whole CD - beautiful oboe playing from Stella Dickinson over a simple string line, the drone and ornamentation giving a celtic tinge to the english melancholy. Elsewhere, The oak and the ash is given a simple poignancy.

Paul Hart's subtle arrangements keep the melodies to the fore, but sometimes he is more overt, as in this Brittenesque introduction to The lark in the clear air. Delightfully, he gives Annie Laurie the Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring treatment.

Textures are varied: in Women of Ireland, solo harp and cor anglais give a starkly haunting feel. And each melody is developed, as in this middle section of Blow the wind southerly.

All the playing is distinguished. The strings are led by Rita Manning, the harpist is Helen Tunstall. More about Stella Dickinson (including further reviews of this CD) is on her web site. [CD number LL; time: 63:45]
"This is music-making for all occasions, centred around Stella's wonderful range of timbres and instrumental technique.... a peach of a disc." Hi-Fi News

The English Oboe: Rediscovered CD cover
Price £11.99

The English Oboe: Rediscovered
James Turnbull (oboe)
with Libby Burgess (piano), Matthew Featherstone (flute), Dan Shilladay (viola)

Edmund Rubbra: Sonata, Op 100
Edward Longstaff: Aegeus (1996)
Gustav Holst: Terzetto for flute, oboe and viola (1925)
Thomas Walmisley: Sonatina No 1
John Casken: Amethyst Deceiver for solo oboe (2009)
Michael Berkeley: Three Moods for solo oboe (1978)
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Six Studies in English Folk-Song (1926), arr. for cor anglais & piano

"I wish that more record companies would dare to mix the familiar with the not so familiar, as we find on this superb new disc. The programme here is unusually stimulating, with its juxtaposition of old and new. Furthermore, this CD is framed by arguably the finest ever recorded versions of Rubbra's magnificent Sonata and Vaughan Williams' Six Studies in English Folksong... This is a splendid release." David Jennings, MusicWeb International

"There is no disputing the technical facility of James Turnbull or the warm, sensitive pianism of Libby Burgess. Turnbull shines particularly in John Casken's virtuosic Amethyst Deceiver, its capricious twists and turns reflecting the amethyst deceiver of the title - an edible mushroom disguised as a poisonous one. There is more astringent solo work in Michael Berkeley's Three Moods, but tonality is never far away, with examples from Rubbra, Holst and Vaughan Williams. And there's a delicious surprise - a glorious Sonatina by Walmisley, in a new edition by Christopher Hogwood." Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian
[CD number OR; time: 68:34]

Zelenka CD cover
Price £11.99

Zelenka Sonatas
Ensemble Marsyas
Josep Domènech Lafont, Molly Marsh (oboes), Peter Whelan (bassoon)
Thomas Dunford (theorbo), Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord/organ), Christine Sticher (violone)
Sonatas III in F, V in B flat and VI in C minor; Andante from Simphonie à 8 Concertante in A minor

Many oboists have had a bash through Zelenka's splendidly virtuosic, original, eccentric (and long) Sonatas. Ensemble Marsyas, however, never bash; they navigate elegantly through the textures and technical challenges, as you can hear in the first movement of number V. Here they are in the unfolding slow movement of that Sonata.

In number III they are joined by violinist Monica Huggett; here is an excerpt from the dance-like fourth movement. Everywhere, the virtuosic demands of the music are handled with ease, as in this section from the last movement of number VI.

And what of the length - how do they keep the music fresh? I refer you to the review below which tries to describe the musical perception that Ensemble Marsyas bring to their interpretations. [CD number Z; time: 49:43]

"When textures become sparse, delivery intensifies; when the line expands, the tempo stretches; when counter-
point thickens, articulation is leavened. The players are audibly intelligent, at once humorous and illuminating."
Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine

Phoenix CD cover
Price £11.99

Concertos by Paul Patterson, Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells
Emily Pailthorpe
English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch

One of the highlights of the International Double Reed Society's 2009 Festival in Birmingham was Emily's première of Paul Patterson's remarkable piece; now we can hear her new recording with Benjamin Wallfisch and the English Chamber Orchestra in fine form. Here are clips from the first, second and third movements.

Anyone familiar with Emily's Oboe Classics CD Though Lovers be Lost will know that, though born in the USA, she has a special affinity with English melancholy; and her performance of the Vaughan Williams Concerto continually gives the feeling that this is how the music should go. Here are the first, second and third movements.

The arrangement of Howells' Oboe Sonata feels just right, too - the depth and sustaining power of the strings giving more body to this significant and affecting work. Here are the first, second and third movements.
[CD number PC; time: 67:36]

The soft turning of this music [the Vaughan Williams] has never been heard projected with such gentle warmth -
at least not on record. The Minuet and Musette dances in poetry. The fairy flight, swooning ecstasy and delicate dancing zephyrs of the third movement are lovingly handled and poised."
Rob Cowan, MusicWeb International

War and Peace CD cover
Price £11.99

War and Peace - The Oboe Band
G F Handel: Three Dance
J-B Lully: Air des Hautbois
J B de Boismortier: Sonata in G minor, Op 34/1
H Purcell: Suite from King Arthur
J P Krieger: Partita No 1 from Die Lustige Feldmusik
G Finger: Sonata Ottava a Tre in G minor, Op 1
J C Pez: Suite in D minor
H Purcell: Suite from The Fairy Queen

The theme of this CD ensures a wide range of music, from Handel's martial Rigaudon to Boismortier's plaintive Adagio. Henry Purcell is well represented, and this Overture from King Arthur reminds us that this really is a Band. Less well-known composers prove their worth here, as in a Menuet by Kreiger, or this Adagio by Finger.

There is expert playing throughout, not only in this Presto by Finger. The Oboe Band consists of Sarah Humphrys, Joel Raymond, Frances Norbury and Rebecca Stockwell playing oboes, oboe da caccia, tenor oboe and bassoon. For more on The Oboe Band, see their web site

A great CD to fill the house (or the iPod earphones) with the mellifluous sound of baroque oboes.
[CD number WP; time: 58:29]

"The playing is excellent throughout, with some impressive use of articulation and dynamics in their insightful interpretations. I can assure any readers who might think that an entire CD of oboes is the sort of thing
designed to annoy the neighbours that this is far more likely to delight."
Andrew Benson-Wilson, Early Music Review

Pipers 3 CD cover

Price £10

Pipers 3 oboe trio

Mark Baigent (ob, cor anglais) Jessica Mogridge (ob, cor anglais, kantelé) Julian West (ob, cor anglais)

Gilbert Amy (b1936): Jeux
Boismortier (1691-1755): Sonata in E minor
Richard Leigh (b 1967): Kantelaridé
James Macmillan (b 1959): Intercession
Beethoven (1770-1827): Variations on La ci darem
John Lunn (b 1956): Trio

Listen to any of these clips, and the first thing that strikes you is the quality of the playing. Beautifully matched in sound, intonation, and technique, Pipers 3 are able to conjure up any number of magical sounds. They are helped by a recording that takes advantage of a splendid church acoustic.

The classical clips are the final gigue from a four-movement Sonata by Boismortier (originally for three flutes), and the stunningly played cor anglais variation from Beethoven's take on La ci darem.

The contemporary works are all different, from Jeux (which really is playful in spite of the fearsome technicalities involved) to the complex rhythms of Lunn's Trio and the textures of Kantelaridé which sound as if a whole flock of oboes has arrived. Finally, impeccable control of sound and tuning creates a haunting pibroch effect in James Macmillan's mesmeric piece that is fully worthy to take the name of the whole CD. [CD number P3; time: 51:53]

"How often do three oboes make you believe you are listening to one?"
Nicholas Daniel, International Oboe Soloist

insomniac CD cover

Price £11

new noise - Janey Miller oboe and Joby Burgess percussion

Cameron Sinclair (b 1964): The Fly
Simon Holt (b 1958): Banshee
John Zorn (b 1953): Bith Aneth
Javier Alvarez (b 1956): Temazcal
Katharine Norman (b 1960): Insomnia
Thea Musgrave (b 1928): Niobe
Nat Walker (b 1974): Playa del Esta
Nigel Osborne (b 1948): Botanical Studies:
Arundo donax - Silene - Mirabilis - Cucurbita - Galanthus
Jeffrey Agrell (b 1948): Blues for D.D.

"You won't find much aural wallpaper on Insomniac... Cameron Sinclair's opening track pays homage to the old sci-fi movie The Fly. The second, Simon Holt's Banshee, turns the oboe into a wailing monster; while Katharine Norman's Insomnia thrusts us into a ten-minute nightmare of dark, itchy sounds smothered in electronics.

"This isn't a CD to iron shirts by. The two musicians - Janey Miller and Joby Burgess - attack such scores with an almost frightening vigour and skill. Sour, piercing notes sail out of Miller in breaths that never end; the Devil would appreciate Burgess's dexterity with drums, gongs, djembes, cymbals, whip and the rest of a large arsenal." Geoff Brown, The Times

"This disc has a freshness about it - the use of electronics combined with less conventional percussion such as sandpaper, a whip and log drums in Cameron Sinclair's The Fly make the music sound very distinctive and quite unique. Another highlight is the brilliant rendition of Thea Musgrave's Niobe, which shows off Janey Miller's virtuosic technique." Musician

"Janey Miller's exquisite oboe, Joby Burgess's virtuosic percussion and sound-blowing electronics make new noise's Insomniac blindingly vivid for anyone with a sense of musical adventure."
Clare Mackney, The Birmingham Post
[CD number NNL1; time: 73:12]

Price £7.99
Morceaux de Salon (LP)
Jeremy Polmear (oboe), Diana Ambache (piano)
[If you would prefer this as a CD copy, tell us in an email when you order.]

J W Kalliwoda (1801-66) Morceau de Salon, Op 228 (9:36)
T Lalliet (1837-92) Prelude and variations on The Carnival of Venice, Op 20 (9:43)
J C M Widerkehr (1759-1823) Duo Sonata in E minor (16:00)
Allegro - Menuetto & Trio - Adagio sans lenteur - Allegro
Sun Ilin and Wang Zhiwei The Countryside is my Home (4:36)

This LP disc on the Meridian label dates from 1984. It runs at 45 rpm, and claims to be more hi-fi and with quieter surfaces than the more usual 33⅓. Played at 33⅓ it can sound rather lugubrious! [CD number MS; total time 40:00]

"Described as 'a natural sound recording', this impressive disc from Meridian lives up to its claim, with sound that has a sturdy solidity and clarity to it, without any hard or harsh qualities creeping in... The two artists produce finely phrased expressive performances, devoid of over-statement, and characterised by subtle gradations of dynamic and articulation.

"Kalliwoda's Morceau de Salon is perhaps the most musically arresting piece on the disc, and all Polmear's best qualities are brought into play here to produce an outstanding interpretation. Diana Ambache is a sensitive accompanist, but she is at her best in the Widerkehr, where more subtlety of tonal and dynamic shading are called for in the piano part... The Countryside is my Home, a piece from the period of Red China's Cultural Revolution, is a pleasantly lightweight bucolic item of great charm, performed with appropriate warmth." Doug Hammond, Hi-Fi News

"... The disc offers Polmear a lot of scope to show off what he can do, and he can do a lot... Lalliet's variations on the ubiquitous Carnival of Venice are literally breathtaking: Polmear's circular breathing allows him to zip through the final variation seemingly without any intake of air... a most entertaining disc." George Chien, Fanfare (USA)

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