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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 from this site

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.

[Click the underlined works to hear MP3 sound clips]

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 Han de Vries recordings (9 CDs and a DVD) in a limited edition. (There are still a few left.) Producer Peter Bree and the Attacca label have now produced a second box, twice as big.

Once again the music spans the oboe repertoire, and there is very little overlap with the previous box or with the rest of the Oboe Classics catalogue. The full listing is available as a printable PDF file, and here are some examples of why Han de Vries is unique:

            Beautiful in the Bach 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 with military band,
            deeply-felt in the Hindemith cor anglais Sonata, jazzy in the Breuker Concerto no. 1,
            collaborative in Danzi's Wind Quintet in B op. 56 no. 1 and in Terry Riley's 'In C'.

The price of this box automatically qualifies it for free postage, worldwide.

            [CD number H2; time 21 hours 28 minutes]

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

Oboesession CD cover
Price £11.99

Pauline Oostenrijk (oboe) Ivo Janssen (piano)
Camille Saint-Saëns: Sonata, Op 166 (1921)
Henri Dutilleux: Sonata (1947)
Francis Poulenc: Sonata (1962)
Marcel Mihalovici: Sonatina, Op 13 (1924)
Makoto Shinohara: Obsession (1960)

The celebrated Dutch oboist Pauline Oostenrijk gives definitive performances of three major pieces from the oboe repertoire, and everywhere demonstrates her commitment to the music and the instrument.

In the Saint-Saëns she exercises classical restraint; in the second movement of the Poulenc both players generate a driving intensity; and in the Dutilleux first movement, their control of tension is superb, a fascinating companion to Emily Pailthorpe and Julian Milford's performance on Though Lovers be Lost.

The Sonatina by Mihalovici (a Roumanian composer living in Paris) also appears on Oboe Classics, in a ground-breaking 1938 performance by Louis Bleuzet on The Oboe 1903-53. In Pauline Oostenrijk's hands it is transformed - the slow movements are mysterious, the fast ones exhilarating.

Shinohara's piece, written for a competition, really is obsessive; by the end of the performance we are exhausted but exhilarated by the vitality, virtuosity and variety of Pauline Oostenrijk's playing. For more on Pauline Oostenrijk, see her web site [CD number OS; time: 57:39]
"Oostenrijk possesses a beautiful purity of tone, with grit and passion when needed." BBC Music Magazine, awarding the performance five stars

Ben Opie CD cover
If you'd like to check out another version of French Sonatas
(Dutilleux, Saint-Saëns, Poulenc and Koechlin)
you can get details, listen to (and buy) Australian
oboist Ben Opie's version here.

Pipers 3 CD cover

Price £10
For more on Pipers 3, see their web site

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, even though on headphones you can occasionally hear a hint of distant traffic.

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

For more on new noise, see their web site

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]

Morceaux de Salon LP cover
Price £5.99
Morceaux de Salon (LP)
Jeremy Polmear (oboe), Diana Ambache (piano)

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, and is not available on CD, download or streaming. At 45rpm, it 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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