Alex Klein: Twentieth Century Oboe Sonatas

Alex Klein on the Beauty of Petr Eben’s Oboe Sonata:

From the liner notes:

Personal Statement
Notes by Alex Klein
This is an album I’ve wanted to do all life: to go on the record (so to speak) with the pieces that are the meat and potatoes of oboe playing, plus a few more that are personally important to me. It is a pleasure and an honor to make such a musical statement. They are all part of my personal history of oboe playing, a history where I now have more years behind than in front. I find myself in the Eben, which is part of my youth. And like Poulenc when he wrote his Sonata, I too am facing mortality. The Saint-Saëns and the Poulenc are really the core of the oboe recital repertoire, but I’m also really in love with the other pieces here. The Bozza is wild and free and engaging. It runs from an incredible depth of musicality to torrid technical display. The Dutilleux is some of the most driven and energetic music that’s been written for the instrument. And the Bowen is such a delight; all three movements are right up there with best music an oboe player can play.

I have a certain nostalgia besides the one caused by age: focal dystonia brought a significant burden to my life and led me to rebuild my playing. Still, I don’t know how long I have left to play oboe. This recording has more to do with closing than anticipating ambitious projects for the future. This may well be one of my last oboe statements.

— Alex Klein

Here are the finalists for the oboe competition in Prague.

For the finals the contestants play both the Vaughan Williams and Martinu for the final round. Vaughan Williams is done without conductor. Martinu is conducted by Ondrej Vrabec.

First up is Martin Danek of the Czech Republic, playing the Vaughan Williams. The playing begins at about the 2 minute mark if you want to skip the beginning. Second is Gabriel Pidoux of France, again playing the Vaughan Williams.

Later the same day Seong Young Yun from the Republic of Korea, followed by Shota Takahashi of Japan, play the works.

Do you want to know the results? Maybe you should listen first and I’ll answer later. Besides, I confess that I’ve not yet had time to listen to it all. (I wish I didn’t know who won: I’d like to decide with my ears but my eyes have already read the news, which I think affects the ears!)

The ever-versatile Keve Wilson plays an arrangement of two Venezuelen Joropos (and yes, I had to look that up to see what it was: a dance similar to a Fandango) with violinist Rachel Handman.

I met Keve a rather long time ago (I can’t even remember the circumstances, it’s been so long!). I’ve enjoyed her playing ever since.

… for your Thursday morning and the last day of February. Lovely playing here!

Kumho Prodigy Concert
Soo Hyun Jee, Oboe
Eugène Bozza: Fantasie Pastorale for Oboe and Piano, Op.37
Recorded at the Kumho Art Hall, 15 December 2018

… or maybe a little bit more than a little! What fun this is.

Kumho Young Artist Opening Concert
Seong Ye Ma, Oboe
Alyssa Morris
Alyssa Morris: 4 Personalities for Oboe and Piano (excerpts)
Yellow | Blue | Red
Recorded at the Kumho Art Hall, 5 January, 2019

… but the video? Well, it made me laugh. I don’t know if others will react the same way or not.

Albrecht Mayer is one of my all time favorite oboists. He is musical. His technique is fabulous. He’s just a great musician.

Still, this video. I don’t mind the bits where he is out and about, but playing oboe outside in various areas? Hm. Well, I stopped looking and just listened. Agree? Disagree? You tell me!

Preview, download or stream: Listen to the 1st Movement of Vivaldi’s “Oboe Concerto In C Major [R450]” played by Albrecht Mayer. With his new album Tesori d’Italia, Albrecht Mayer again extends the oboe’s concerto repertory: apart from Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in C major RV 450 he presents virtually unknown works by Italian Baroque masters, including two world premiere recordings of concertos by Giuseppe Sammartini and Domenico Elmi.

11. February 2019 · Comments Off on Some Schumann … · Categories: Oboe

But not, perhaps, the one you expect. Here is Clara Schumann’s Three Romances for Oboe & Piano, played beautifully by Robert Walker (oboe) and Irene Kim (piano). Do you hear snippets that remind you of Robert Schumann’s work?

30. January 2019 · Comments Off on The Baroque Oboe · Categories: Baroque, Oboe, Videos

… the prior video then took me to this one. Such fun to hear and learn about!

Co-Principal Oboe Katharina Spreckelsen on why the quirks of the Baroque oboe make it so exciting.

30. January 2019 · Comments Off on Haydn’s Oboe · Categories: Oboe, Videos

This is a fun and informative video. I’m grateful to my friend Carolyn Fahm for bringing it to my attention!

21. December 2018 · Comments Off on Catalonian Carol · Categories: Choral, Christmas, Oboe

Just a bit of lovely for your afternoon.

The Singers; Matthew Culloton, Conductor; Merrilee Klemp, Oboe