Have you heard of the composer Freda Swain? I sure hadn’t. But William Wiegus has now introduced her to me. These are so sweet!

From the YouTube Page (and you might want to subscribe to his channel!):

Freda Swain (1902-1985)
Three Whimsies for unaccompanied Oboe (1969)
1. Jig-Jog (0:00-0:45)
2. Lament (0:46-2:11)
3. Reel (2:12-3:14)

William Wielgus, oboe
Home Recording, July 4, 2022

Illustrations of Paddington Bear by Peggy Fortnum

Freda Swain was born in Portsmouth, England on 31 October 1902, the daughter of Thomas and Gertrude (nee Allen) Swain. Her first piano lessons (from age 11) were at the Tobias Matthay Piano School in London, given by Matthay’s sister Dora.] Three years later she went to study composition with Charles Villiers Stanford and piano with Arthur Alexander (1891-1969) at the Royal College of Music] earning awards including the Sullivan Prize in 1921.

In 1924 Swain began teaching at the Royal College and in 1936 she founded the British Music Movement to help promote the efforts of young composers and artists. Swain married Arthur Alexander in 1921, and before World War II the couple toured South Africa and Australia, lecturing, broadcasting and performing recitals. They were both on the founding board of the Surrey College of Music from the mid-1940s. From 1942 they lived in a bungalow on Chinnor Hill in Oxfordshire. Freda Swain died on 29 January 1985.

Swain wrote some 450 pieces, piano and chamber music as well as many songs, but also opera and orchestral works, including two piano concertos and a clarinet concerto. Few were performed aside from a series featured in the NEMO Series of concerts that Swain herself founded after the wa Her first major success was The Harp of Aengus for violin and orchestra (after the Yeats poem), with soloist Achille Rivarde at the Queen’s Hall in January 1925. The solo Violin Sonata was premiered by May Harrison at the Wigmore Hall on 8 December, 1933. Her ‘Airmail’ Piano Concerto, mailed in instalments to her husband Arthur Alexander while he was stuck in South Africa during World War II, was performed by Alexander in Cape Town. She composed a one-act opera Second Chance, but left two other operas incomplete.

Piano compositions include three large scale piano sonatas and 40 or so other works for solo piano, including many educational pieces. There is also a substantial cello sonata, two violin sonatas (one with piano, the other unaccompanied), two string quartets, a piano quartet, a sextet with horn and clarinet, a Suite for Six Trumpets and many other chamber and instrumental pieces.

Swain’s surviving manuscripts were handed down to her pupil and friend David Stevens, founder of the Swain-Alexander Trust. In turn they were passed on to Swiss pianist Timon Altwegg in 2005, who has begun recording the piano works for Toccata Classics.

(Information from the Wikipedia article on Freda Swain)

07. June 2022 · Comments Off on New LA Phil Oboist … · Categories: News, Oboe

It’s been reported that an oboist has been named as the new principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The blog begins with this:

Reliable sources — from multiple time zones, FWIW — have confirmed that Marc Lachat has been offered the position of Principal Oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Of the six finalists I identified previously, as many as four were “qualified” by the orchestra’s audition committee, and Gustavo Dudamel (Music & Artistic Director) chose him.

But I’ll leave it at that so you read it from the source.

08. April 2022 · Comments Off on Ah, Baroque Oboe! · Categories: Baroque, Listen, Oboe

When I was in high school I heard a Baroque oboe and cringed. I simply couldn’t stand the sound.

Now? Well now I adore it.

I’m not sure what bothered me then, and I am not certain what makes it hit my heart now. I only know I’ve changed. The sound is just so lovely …

From the YouTube page:
Johann Melchior Molter
Concerto for oboe in a
Badische Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe Concertos- Mus. Hs. 300

0:00 I. Allegro
3:07 II. Largo
5:14 III. Allegro

Musica Gloria
Nele Vertommen & Beniamino Paganini

Nele Vertommen – oboe
Elise Dupont – violin
Pietro Battistoni – violin
Lena Rademann – viola
Phyllis Bartholomeus – cello
Beniamino Paganini – harpsichord

Thomas Langlois – recording supervisor
Rachel Perfecto & Jakob De Vreese – video recording cameras
Peter Van Wonterghem – sound engineer
Nele Vertommen & Beniamino Paganini – sound editing
Beniamino Paganini – sound recording & video editing

Hollands College Leuven (B) – 11 December 2021

With many thanks to LozerCultureel

05. April 2022 · Comments Off on A New and Wonderful Recording! · Categories: Oboe, Piano, Recordings

There is a superb recording out and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from Cedille Records. (Ah, the joy of a CD: cracked and unable to keep the CD in place. But isn’t that how it goes? And who still uses CDs anyway?) It is absolutely excellent and I recommend you get it! I can guarantee I’ll be listening to it over and over.

I’ve been a fan of Alex Klein every since I first heard him. He is pretty darn amazing. The pianist, Phillip Bush, is also excellent.

So check it out! You won’t be sorry.

Or at least you shouldn’t!

15. March 2022 · Comments Off on Still Playing! · Categories: English horn, Oboe · Tags: , , ,

Back in 2017 I posted this video of these sweet young girls playing Albinoni. Yesterday I was greeting by another video by them when I logged into YouTube. I’m happy to see they are still playing!

From the YouTube page:

Shepherds de Provence, op. 43
for oboe and English horn
by Eugene Bozza (1995-1991) – French composer

I. Pastorale Provencale

Young Music Maker 2019 Final Concert
Young Oboe Player – Wong Si
Young English Horn Player -Wong Sa

14. March 2022 · Comments Off on Katherine Needleman & Mekhi Gladden play Bartok · Categories: English horn, Listen, Oboe · Tags: , , ,

(Hat tip to Bob Hubbard for bringing this to my attention.)

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
arr. Katherine Needleman
Duos for Oboe and English Horn

New Year’s Greeting No. 2 0:05
New Year’s Greeting No. 3 0:46
New Year’s Greeting No. 4. 1:38
Serbian Dance 2:20
Harvest Song. 3:13
Limping Dance 4:43
Arabian Song 5:11
A Fairy Tale 6:32
Teasing Song 7:47
Comic Song 8:15
Bride’s Farewell 9:00
Ruthenian Kolomejka 10:32

Katherine Needleman, oboe
Mekhi Gladden, English horn / cor anglais

This is a live performance from An Die Musik in Baltimore on March 5, 2022. This arrangement can be acquired at katherineneedleman.com/publications

Wow! Impressive and very beautiful!

Diana Doherty and Shefali Pryor, oboes and Alexandre Oguey, Cor Anglais, are members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s oboe section.

21. February 2022 · 4 comments · Categories: Oboe

I have to share this. Mingjia is such a magnificent player. Do listen to the end … you get more than the Vaughan Williams!

Mingjia Liu, Oboe
SUN Yifan, Conductor

And now for some beautiful music. Bernice Lee plays an arrangement by Fergus Davidson of a movement of Tombeau de Couperin. Wonderful!

If you want to buy the music just click here.

24. December 2021 · Comments Off on The Christmas Song · Categories: Christmas, English horn, Oboe

The Christmas Song
Our arrangement of the popular cristmas song
We Hope you will enjoy it!

Oboenkalsse Weimar
The Christmas Song
Songwriter: Mel Torme / Robert Wells

Oboes:

Daniela Juriši?
Viktoria Kassel
Sergio Montijano Bares
Leopold Kern
Marta Meštrovi?
Sabrina Fürtsch
Jesper Burandt

Cor Anglais:
Katharina Althen

Video, Sound &, Arrangement:
Mykyta Sierov – https://www.instagram.com/mykyta_sierov/

Special Thanks to Mascha Weimar https://www.facebook.com/MaschaWeimar
and
DiKuK https://www.facebook.com/KleinkunstInstitut