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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe


THE MAIN CATALOGUE
Please browse this catalogue; the 'More Details' button has
background about each CD, plus links to related CDs.


It is also available in a more compact (printable) form; or as a table.

If you are looking for a particular piece or composer, there is an index of works; and if you want to see what the media say, comments are collected together here.

There is a Second Catalogue of CDs not made by Oboe Classics, but recommended, in stock, and available directly from this site.

And there is also information on downloading and streaming
(Amazon, iTunes, Spotify etc) and of a download-only album.


These CDs are full price in UK shops, around £14-50
(Britten £16, Han de Vries box £60),
but £11-99 ($18.60 approx) if ordered on this web site
(Britten £13-50, Han de Vries box £50).

UK postage is £1.50 for one CD, £2.50 for two or more; Europe: £3 for one,
£4.50 for two or more; World: £4 for one, £6.50 for two or more.
However, orders totalling more than £55 ($89 or €67 approx)
are post free, worldwide. Full shopping details are here.

All CDs are in stock. Orders are normally posted within 24 hours, but anything received after Tue Aug 26 will be posted on Sun Aug 31.

Click the underlined works to hear sound clips (MP3, lo-res)
Trés Françaix
Chamber Music by Jean Françaix

Tres Francaix CD cover
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Charming, urbane, expertly crafted - one can hear all these in this Variation sur un thème plaisant (oboes) for piano and ten wind.

In the cor anglais Quatuor, Françaix has the cor anglais scampering, and in the Sixtuor, rhythmic eccentricity is always undermining the melody.

The Elègie for ten wind on Mozart's early death is an entirely serious piece, and L'Heure du Berger is entirely frivolous. The whole CD encourages, as Françaix himself says, "that good humour which is indispensible to the well-being of humanity."

[CD number 29]
Which CD?

As the Oboe Classics Catalogue gets larger, and the virtues
of each CD are expounded in the rest of this website,
the question arises: which CD(s) are actually going to give you
pleasure, to be something you will want to listen to
again and again, to put on your phone?

I have now written a guide to about half the catalogue
which might help you get started.

I have also added a series of links from each CD's
'More Details' page to other CDs of a similar nature.


Jeremy Polmear

English Accents
oboe players active in England during the 1950s

English Accents CD cover
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How do these players compare to the heroes and heroines of today? To hear Michael Winfield playing Delius, Terence MacDonagh in
J C Bach or John Barnett playing Britten is to hear a master-class
in the art of ebb and flow.

With Sidney Sutcliffe in an exciting Mozart C minor and a meditative Brandenburg 2, you may begin to wonder whether among the gains in playing since, something has also been lost.

Add some detailed booklet notes, and you have a CD that is both a record of the period and a pleasure to listen to.
[CD number 27]

Balkan Bolero
chamber music of Isidora Žebeljan, played by Borislav Čičovački

Balkan Bolero CD cover
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"...a belter from the Balkans – wild, dance-like and off-kilter." So wrote the London Times on Isidora Žebeljan's music. Like Bartók, she combines the folk music tradition of Eastern Europe with that of the West to produce work of passion, tragedy and exuberance.

Žebeljan has also composed for the theatre - music that is fresh and dramatic, and which also repays repeated listening.

Written for virtuoso oboist Borislav Čičovački, these pieces push the instruments beyond the stereo-
types
of their 'normal' music.

[CD number 28]

The French Accent
Original performances of Poulenc, Auric and other french composers.

The french Accent CD cover
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What is 'French' about French composers and players? Here is Francis Poulenc on the piano, soon after writing his Trio, starting fast and getting faster! Another piece full of joie de vivre is the Trio by Georges Auric, contrasting with Debussy-like sensuousness from Albert Roussel. The oboist there is Pierre Pierlot, who can also be heard in the prominent oboe part of André Jolivet's Sérénade, and in a Sonata by Jacques Hotteterre.

Two lesser-known composers included are Pierre-Octave Ferroud and Marguerite Roesgen-Champion's charming Valse Sentimentale.
[CD number 25]

The World of the Oboe
an introduction to the music, players, reeds and instruments

World of the Oboe CD cover
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Is it possible to represent faithfully the rich world of the oboe and oboe playing? These CDs have a really good try, with 33 tracks from composers like Mozart, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Britten. Among the twenty oboists featured are Elaine Douvas and Nicholas Daniel, and there are articles on making a reed and an oboe.

CD 1 is designed to be enjoyed as either foreground or background music, with instantly recognisable tunes, or music with a persuasive atmosphere, or both. CD 2 covers an enormous range, from Beethoven's Fidelio to Berio's Sequenza VII.
[CD number 26]

cor! (if the title puzzles you, slide your mouse over the CD cover)
Alison Teale (cor anglais/english horn), Elizabeth Burley (piano)

cor! CD cover
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Who would have thought a cor anglais and piano could perform the Ritual Fire Dance? But as well as having a phenominal technique, Alison can also float magically, as in Bozza's Divertissement.

Here is the slow opening build-up in Paul Hindemith's celebrated Sonata, and a complete Allegro movement of a Sonata by the English composer Robert Valentine (1680-1735).

Everywhere, Alison pushes both her instrument and the repertoire beyond its normal limits, for example in the Tango 1960 by Astor Piazzolla, or David Gordon's Bebop Tango.
[CD number 23]

A Box Set from Han de Vries
Nine CDs and a DVD (nearly 11 hours of music)

Han de Vries CD box cover
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Han de Vries is one of the world's great oboists, comparable to Holliger or Goossens. This box celebrates his work with what looks like a complete guide to the oboe repertoire (click the CD image for the full contents).

Here are a few samples (in alphabetical order):
some springy Bach, hypnotic Bainbridge, sustained energy in Richard Rodney Bennett, tasteful Cimarosa, enchanting Françaix, elegant Mozart, jaw-dropping Penderecki, graceful Röntgen, electric rock with Peter Schat, and playful duetting with Bart Schneeman in Voormolen.

Frozen River Flows
New Noise - Janey Miller (oboe), Joby Burgess (percussion)

Frozen River Flows CD cover
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New Noise's eclectic mix of styles is very much in evidence. For example, in Nigel Osborne's Journey to the End of the Night the oboe plays with church bells.

Adrian Lee's Peace for Vayu uses a haunting oboe d'amore. Howard Skempton's Random Girl has a starlike beauty, and Simon Holt's Sphinx has unfathomable mystery on the cor anglais. Frozen River Flows is a beautiful meditation by Dobrinka Tabakova.

Two longer works complete the CD - Xenakis' 1976 energetic Dmaathen; and seven varied Bagatelles from George Nicholson.
[CD number 21]

music for oboe, horn and piano
Jeremy Polmear (oboe), Stephen Stirling (horn), Richard Saxel (piano)

music for oboe, horn and piano CD cover
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Here is a CD to explore the possibilities of this fascinating combination. Delightful interplay between oboe and horn is from the first movement of Mozart's Trio after the Quintet K407.

There are two other longer works - Herzogenberg's landmark Trio (this is part of the last movement), and an utterly beguiling Trio (1990) from Jean-Michel Damase (this is the end of the first movement).

There are three shorter items - an operatic duet from Adolphe Blanc, an Air arabe from Molbe, and a 1996 Vocalise-Waltz from the American Paul Basler.

[CD number 22]

Antares
Oboe music by Edwin Roxburgh
Paul Goodey (oboe/oboe d'amore), Sally Mays (piano)
Musicians from the RNCM, conducted by the composer

Antares CD cover
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The full variety of Roxburgh's writing is evident here in seven works spanning nearly 40 years. The mood varies from nervy brilliance in Antares to the sinuous lines of Ariadne's Thread.

His music is sometimes inspired by war and loss, as in Cantilena and Silent Strings. Elegy celebrates the gentleness of the late oboist Janet Craxton, in a performance conducted by the composer.

Dramatic textures abound in Images, and multiphonics turn the trio Shadowplay into a whole flock of oboes.
[CD number 19]

Orpheus Elegies
by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Three Bach Arias arranged by him
Melinda Maxwell (oboe), Helen Tunstall (harp), Andrew Watts (counter-tenor)


Orpheus CD cover
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This major chamber work is scored mainly for oboe and harp, and refers to some of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus. The Elegies cover a huge range: Elegy 15 has a quiet resignation, while Elegy 10 is a full-bloodied keening.

Elegy 8 is an endearing depiction of machinery; and Elegy 22 depicts bells. Some heartfelt music is in the seven vocal Elegies, for example Elegy 20.

Birtwistle's arrangements for chamber ensemble of Three Bach Arias make a delightful filler, for example from Weh der Seele, die den Schaden.
[CD number 20]

Britten: Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op 49
Anatomy of a Masterpiece
George Caird (oboe) Joy Boughton (oboe) Nicholas Daniel (oboe)

Britten CD cover
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A new shape for a CD; it's in a DVD case to house George Caird's 20,000 words of wide-ranging background to the work, containing everything from its literary and visual influences to where to take a breath.

There are performances by George Caird, Joy Boughton (Britten's dedicatee) and Nicholas Daniel. Those clips were the opening of Pan; here is the end of Arethusa from George, Joy and Nick.

There are also 23 tracks of Britten's sketches, played by George Caird; here is an early version of Bacchus.


Oboe Divas!
Operatic Duos and Ensembles from Handel to Wagner
Emily Pailthorpe and Elaine Douvas

Divas CD cover
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Why should singers have all the best tunes? Here are the Divas playing Delibes' Flower Duet.

Other operatic moments are celebrated, from Donizetti's Lucia by Henri Brod, to a wind quintet by Richard Blackford on themes from Die Meistersinger.

Sometimes the Divas are alone, as in Figaro, sometimes with the London CONCHORD Ensemble or the New York Met Opera, as in Fidelio.

Everywhere, the bitter-sweet qualities of this superb oboe playing are evident, as in
Eugene Onegin.
[CD number 18]

oboe+
berio and beyond
Christopher Redgate (oboe, oboe d'amore) and friends

oboe+ CD cover
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Christopher Redgate has already tackled 19th Century virtuosity (see Pasculli, below); here he is in music of our own time, as in Luciano Berio's Sequenza VII.

Sometimes with percussion as in Sam Hayden's Recoil, or with interactive computer as in Michael Young's Argrophylax, Christopher pushes himself and his instrument to their limits.

This music can be exuberant (as in '...sting of the bee...'); moving (as in Roger Redgate's Ausgangspunkte); and challenging (as in Michael Finnissy's Pavasiya).
[CD number 15]

Melodic Lines
works for oboe, bassoon and piano
Jeremy Polmear (oboe) Philip Gibbon (bassoon) Diana Ambache (piano)

Melodic Lines CD cover
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Melodic lines abound here - as in Lalliet's operatic Trio, or in the celebrated Trio by Poulenc.

Ceremony and melancholy is mixed in Geoffrey Bush's superb Trio, and Madeleine Dring contributes her characteristic wit.

Receiving their première recordings are Richard Stoker's french-influenced Miniatures, and the enigmatic melody of jazz/rock saxophonist Barbara Thompson's Green.

Overall, this CD shows what beautiful tunes and textures are to be had from oboe, bassoon and piano.
[CD number 16]

From Leipzig to London
Duo Sonatas from the 18th and 20th Centuries
Althea Ifeka (oboe, oboe d'amore, cor anglais) Katharine May (harpsichord)

Leipzig CD cover
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Bach, Bach and Bach - not only his 'Little G minor' oboe sonata, but highly effective arrangements of Gamba sonatas for oboe d'amore and cor anglais.

The road from Leipzig to London was paved by Evelyn Barbirolli and Valda Aveling, who inspired a range of works from British composers, from the ever-mellifluous Gordon Jacob to the grittier Elizabeth Maconchy.

This debut disc from Althea Ifeka (now known as Althea Talbot-Howard) and Katharine May also includes music from Stephen Dodgson and Michael Head's Siciliana.
[CD number 13]

THE SHEBA SOUND
Two oboes, bassoon and harpsichord crossing musical boundaries
Double CD (single CD price)

Sheba CD cover
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Bach with a rhythm section, a jazzy piece by Daryl Runswick, a Viennese Polka, a version of the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun - variety like this makes the first of these two CDs great for car journeys or having on your iPod.

The second combines contemporary works such as David Matthews' Berceuse and Jean-Michel Damase's Scherzo with Baroque pieces by François Couperin and (of course) the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

A highly enjoyable tribute to a group that crossed musical boundaries for more than twenty years.
[CD number 14]

Janet Craxton
music for oboe and strings

Janet Craxton CD cover
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The memory of Janet Craxton (1929-81) remains vivid with many people. Here we can hear why, in her floating phrases under shifting strings in Francis Routh's Quartet, or the 12-note melody of Nicola LeFanu's dramatic Variations.

Scherzos abound in this CD, as in the excitement of Richard Stoker's Polemics, and the sophistication of Elizabeth Maconchy's Quartet.

The magic of Craxton's playing is evident throughout these fine BBC recordings, as in her entry in Lennox Berkeley's Quartet, and the journey she takes us on with Elisabeth Lutyens' powerful Driving out the Death.
[CD number 11]

The Oboe 1903-53
Double CD of historic oboe recordings (single CD price)

The Oboe 1903-53 CD cover
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The earliest recordings here evoke a different world, as in this 1908 recording by Caesar Addimando. Later on, here is Sidney Sutcliffe elegantly negotiating a Beethoven variation in 1951.

There are some fascinating comparisons, as with Goossens' mentor Henri de Busscher demonstrating the Brahms violin concerto solo in a 1940s educational disc, and Goossens' own 1936 version.

There are many surprises: gorgeous phrasing from Bruno Labate in J C Bach; and Louis Bleuzet sounding very up-to-date in Mihalovici.
[CD number 12]

An English Renaissance
music for oboe and strings inspired by Léon Goossens
George Caird (oboe) and friends

An English Renaissance CD cover
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These pieces for oboe and strings - all written for Léon Goossens or inspired by him - show a wide variety of moods, from rumbustuous energy in Arthur Bliss to English understatement in the Fantasy of E J Moeran.

Elizabeth Maconchy's Quintet shows a striking intensity, and so does this section from the first movement of this re-discovered Quintet of Dorothy Gow.

The Phantasy Quartet of Benjamin Britten completes the programme, played with virtuosity and flair by George Caird and his string friends.
[CD number 9]

Ready, Steady, Blow!
Musicians of Trinity College of Music


Ready Steady Blow! CD cover
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Here is a CD to inspire all oboe beginners, with a wealth of good, simple music - for example this ebulliant piece, attributed to Henry VIII, or this soulful Air by Purcell.

The lively Corumbá can be played after just a few lessons, and there are many jazzy pieces, for example the well-known I Got Rhythm.

There are some inspiring performances, as in this beautiful pastoral music by Michael Head.

Each piece is playable without the oboe part, and there are 60 tracks in all.
[CD number 10]

the oboe in MOZART chamber music
Jeremy Polmear (oboe & cor anglais)
with the Ambache Chamber Ensemble


Mozart CD cover
more details
Joy is the keyword for this CD; you can hear it in the opening bars of the Oboe Quartet, and in the interplay between flute, oboe and piano in this segment from the Quintet, K617.

But there is also serenity, as in this version for cor anglais of the Adagio K580a, and in the slow movement of the Sonata K376 (originally for violin), in which the oboe and piano lines intertwine.

The CD ends with the celebrated Quintet for Piano and Winds K452; here is the group cadenza in the last movement.

[CD number 7]

Though Lovers be Lost
Emily Pailthorpe (oboe)  Julian Milford (piano)


Though Lovers be Lost CD cover
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This powerful CD expresses the uncertainty - and creative energy - of the period dominated by the two World Wars. Here is the theme of Britten's Temporal Variations of 1936, and the dramatic Scherzo from Henri Dutilleux' Sonata.

Nostalgia is present, too, as in the oboe entry in Gerard Finzi's Interlude (1936), and Ravel's tribute to dead soldier friends in his Tombeau de Couperin (1917).

The same period produced Eugène Goossens' Concerto; and here as elsewhere, Emily Pailthorpe demonstrates her expressive playing.
[CD number 8]

Rare GOOSSENS
Léon Goossens

Goossens CD cover
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These are all recordings not available elsewhere, and they show Léon Goossens in rare form. Hear, for example, his ability to float a phrase in Pierné's Aubade.

The performances range from a 1925 pre-electric recording of Charles Colin's endearing Concertino, to a 1947 reworking of Scarlatti themes.

There is an important reissue of the 1927 Bax Quintet (written for Goossens), and a number of miniatures such as the Londonderry Air, at which he excelled.
[CD number 5]

PASCULLI
Christopher Redgate (oboe)  Stephen Robbings (piano)

Pasculli CD cover
more details
Pasculli has been described as the 'Paganini of the Oboe'. Just listen to Christopher Redgate's amazing high-wire act in Pasculli's Study Le Api (The Bees).

This is not just idle virtuosity; listen to how Pasculli uses it to develop a theme in the Sicilian Vespers. And what themes! Here is one of melting simplicity from the Les Hugenots Fantasia.

Pasculli's writing is leavened with a spirit of geniality, as in this episode in Poliuto, evoking the Italian countryside. But virtuosity is the keynote, with seemingly impossible feats of derring-do, as in La Favorita.
[CD number 6]

NEW GROUND
Seven world première recordings - Paul Goodey

New Ground CD cover
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This cover shows an interaction between a man and a mechanism, amply demonstrated in Paul Goodey and Michael Oliva's Xas-Orion (with computer) and Edwin Roxburgh's multi-tracked At the Still Point of the Turning World... (this section features the oboe's keywork).

However, David Sutton-Anderson's New Ground is derived from a Ground Bass by Henry Purcell, and Michael Oliva's Into the Light is neo-Romantic.

Specially written for this CD is Cecilia MacDowall's dramatic Fox Woman, spoken and sung by Linda Hirst.
[CD number 3]

The art of HAN de VRIES
Concertos spanning two decades of an international career

Han de Vries CD cover
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Han de Vries is the leading exponent of the Dutch School of oboe playing. Listen to his light, fluent style in the first movement of Mozart's oboe concerto.

Han de Vries is equally at home in the chamber music situation of the Bach oboe and violin concerto, or riding the orchestra in the Paganini-like Kalliwoda Concertino.

He plays Baroque oboe in the Telemann C minor concerto, and modern oboe without vibrato in the 1969 concerto by Louis Andreissen, that sounds quite normal - except for the voice on the radio...
[CD number 4]

BAROQUE SPIRIT - La Fontaine


Baroque Spirit CD cover
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The vivacity and virtuosity of this young Japanese group ensure that they win the audience prize whever they go. Here, for example, is a Telemann E minor Presto, and the gorgeous, floating opening of his A minor Triosonata

Lesser-known composers provide some delightful surprises too, such as this sinuous oboe duet from the Quantz G minor Triosonata, or the spirited final allegro from the G major Triosonata by the Pla brothers.
[CD number 1]
[Note: for copyright reasons, in Japan order this CD from www.meister-music.com.]

Robert & Clara SCHUMANN
The Polmear Ambache Duo

Schumanns CD cover
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These are the best of Romantic miniatures. Robert's Oboe Romances are the best known oboe chamber pieces of the period, and listening to the start of the first one it's easy to hear why.

Less well known, but equally fine, are Clara's three Romances; here's the start of her first one.

The cor anglais features too - in, for example, the haunting opening bars of Robert's Adagio & Allegro, and also in an unusually spritely role in the first of his popular-style five pieces Stücke im Volkston.
[CD number 2]

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