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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe


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Oboe Divas! CD cover
More 'operatic' CDs: Melodic Lines CD cover Music for oboe, horn & piano CD cover Pasculli CD cover

(Click underlined movements to hear MP3 format sound clips.)
Emily Pailthorpe and Elaine Douvas, photo by Russell Bell

Delibes: the Flower Duet from Lakmé               (2 obs, pno)

Donizetti, arr. Brod: Duo from Lucia di Lammermoor
                                                                     (ob, bn, pno)
Beethoven: Variations on Mozart's 'Là ci darem la mano'
                                                                        (2 obs, bn)
Handel: Duetto 'Bramo haver mille vite' from Ariodante
                                                                      (2 obs, pno)
Blackford: Portrait of Hans Sachs on themes from Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg                  (fl, ob, cl, bn, hn)

Rossini, arr.Demersseman: 'Duo Brilliant' from William Tell
                                                                       (fl, ob, pno)
Mozart, arr. Joppig: Three Operatic Duets
                                                                             (2 obs)
Beethoven, arr. Wenzl Sedlak: Fidelio
                                           (2 obs, 2 cls, 2 hn, 2 bn, bass)
Tchaikovsky, arr. D Pailthorpe: Opening of Eugene Onegin
                                                                      (2 obs, pno)
Total Time 76:19

The 24-page full colour CD booklet has a 6,000 word programme note in English
with full details of each item, setting it in its operatic and historical context.
There are biographies of all the players and many photographs.

Introduction by Emily Pailthorpe:

The Queen of the Night stage set by Karl Schinkel for an 1815 production This is a CD for lovers of opera and lovers of the oboe alike. Indeed it is often the vocal quality of the oboe to which listeners and players are drawn. Whether reaching out from the pit orchestra in accompaniment, or taking centre stage for a chamber work, playing the oboe does feel like singing. Portrayed here are some of the great oboe moments in opera (Fidelio, Meistersinger) as well as many that we always wanted to stand up and sing ourselves! (For example the 'Queen of the Night' aria from Mozart's Magic Flute, the Duo from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.) Both the Diva and the gracious accompanist appear here - often swapping seamlessly from one role to the other.

My own love affair with opera grew when I was a student at The Juilliard School in New York, and my teacher Elaine Douvas gave me standing passes to come and hear the productions at the New York Metropolitan Opera, where she was principal oboe. It is a great pleasure to collaborate on this CD with her and her colleagues from the Met, and also to highlight the opera connection of players from the London CONCHORD Ensemble. Daniel Pailthorpe was principal flute at English National Opera for ten years and Andrea de Flammineis is principal bassoon at the Royal Opera House. I think that in this recording the operatic experience of all these players shines through.

photo of Elaine Douvas Elaine Douvas has been Principal Oboe of the Metropolitan Opera since 1977, receiving an award for thirty years of service there in 2008. In 2004 she performed the Strauss Oboe Concerto at Carnegie Hall with the Met Orchestra conducted by James Levine, and in 2006 Henri Dutilleux's Les Citations with the Met Chamber Ensemble. Her 2003 solo CD, containing works of Ravel, Schumann, Howells, Dutilleux, Goossens and Roslavets, is issued by Boston Records.

One of the most influential teachers in the USA, Elaine Douvas serves as Oboe Instructor and Woodwind Department Chairman at The Juilliard School, and in 2007 was honoured for twenty-five years' service. Her students now hold important positions in more than a dozen major orchestras and university faculties. Never tired of playing and teaching, she has spent her summers as principal oboe and instructor at the Aspen Music Festival and School since 1997, and she teaches three intensive, one-week 'oboe camps' in Quebec, Interlochen in Michigan, and Carmel in California. She has given Master Classes at the Curtis and Cleveland Institutes of Music, the Manhattan and Eastman Schools of Music, and the New World Symphony. Her three albums of demonstration and written commentary for 'Music Minus One' are used by teachers and students throughout the world.

A native of Port Huron, Michigan, Elaine trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music with John Mack and at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Her previous positions include Principal Oboe of the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw, and summers at the Grand Teton, Marlboro, Angel Fire, and Bravo! Colorado Festivals. She makes her home in Ridgewood, New Jersey, with her husband Robert Sirinek, orchestra manager and former trumpeter of the Met, their teenage daughters Portia and Margot, and Rusty the Jack Russell Terrier. For many years she has devoted time to figure skating and is proud to have earned her Gold Medal for Adult 'Moves in the Field' in 2006.

photo of Emily Pailthorpe Emily Pailthorpe is a founder member of the London CONCHORD Ensemble. With them she has toured Europe and North America, and recorded for the ASV, Quartz, and Black Box labels. A native of Minnesota, she first gained public attention in 1989 when at 17 she became the youngest artist ever to win First Prize in the Gillet International Oboe Competition and was hailed by the judges as the 'Jacqueline du Pré of the oboe'. Emily went on to study English at Yale University and oboe at The Juilliard School of Music, winning both the concerto competition and the prize for most outstanding orchestral playing. She appeared as Principal Oboe with American orchestras including the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony and the Dallas Opera Orchestra, and as Principal Oboe of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Italy from 1996 to 2001, she made several recordings on the Chandos label.

Emily took up residence in England in 2000 after marrying the British flautist Daniel Pailthorpe. Since moving to the UK permanently she has been Guest Principal oboist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra among others. An active teacher, she leads education workshops for the Orchestra of St. John's, and coaches the Britten Pears Orchestra.

Emily made her solo Wigmore Hall debut in June 2004 to mark the launch of her CD Though Lovers be Lost on the Oboe Classics Label. She makes regular appearances on BBC Radio 3 and Classic fm with CONCHORD, and has been a guest on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour. In July 2003 she made her solo concerto debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra playing the Strauss oboe concerto. Other solo and chamber appearances have included the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the City of London Festival and the Newbury Spring Festival. Emily lives in London with her husband, and their two small children.

photo of Daniel
Pailthorpe, Emily Pailthorpe and Julian Milford

Some of the tracks were recorded with the assistance of members of the London CONCHORD Ensemble; the Donizetti and Beethoven Variations with Andrea de Flammineis (bassoon), and the Rossini with Daniel Pailthorpe (flute) and Julian Milford (piano), pictured here with Emily Pailthorpe.

For details of CONCHORD, see www.conchord.co.uk.

photo of five
wind players of the Metropolitan Opera, New York The Wagner quintet and the Fidelio nonet were recorded by members of the Metropolitan Opera, New York: Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson (flute), Anthony McGill, Jessica Phillips (clarinets), Daniel Shelly, Douglas Brown (bassoons), Julie Landesman, Michelle Reed Baker, Brad Gemeinhardt (horns) and Timothy Cobb (bass). Mark Gould conducted Fidelio, and Elizabeth Martyn (piano) accompanied the Flower Duet and the Handel.

The picture shows the Wagner quintet (L to R): Anthony McGill (clarinet, who performed at Barack Obama's Inauguration), Brad Gemeinhardt (horn), Elaine Douvas (oboe), Daniel Shelly (bassoon) and Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson (flute)

'What was that take like?' members of the nonet from the Met recording 'Fidelio' (The photo shows members of the Met nonet discussing a 'take' of Fidelio. Front row, L to R: Mark Gould, Anthony McGill, Elaine Douvas, Emily Pailthorpe. Back row: Michelle Reed Baker, Julie Landsman, Daniel Shelly.)

Press Comment
"This program embodies what I love about opera and music so much. It runs a wide spectrum of emotions depicted in music, from nonchalance to determination, from the care-free joy in the simple pleasures to the pursuit of forbidden love and seduction. It's all here."
David Schwartz, American Record Guide

"All the items are well recorded and have lively playing, especially from the two main protagonists whose delightful but slightly varied tones are a pleasure in themselves. Cunning ordering ensures variety of texture and character throughout, and lengthy and interesting notes are provided. Clearly this will appeal especially to enthusiasts of the opera or the oboe, but it deserves a much wider circulation."
John Sheppard, MusicWeb International

"The nine major selections begin with a ravishing rendition of Delibes' Flower Duet... and the Divas found a moving conclusion with the opening scene from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin... they weave and match their sinuous timbres; but when Douvas returns to the low register, you can just about eat it with a spoon." Jeanne Belfy, The Double Reed.
This review comments on each track in detail. You can see the whole review as a (printable) PDF file here.

"... So did our heroines clinch the deal? It depends on where you set the bars. There are soaring lines, flying fingers, gorgeous sounds... But did they better Mme. X in opera Y on night Z? I can't say for sure; I wasn't there. But I wouldn't argue against it. Enjoy." George Chien, Fanfare Magazine (US)

"... the title of the CD is perhaps a misnomer - Pailthorpe and Douvas democratically share the principal parts and are simply too good as chamber musicians to hog the limelight. The accompanying booklet is excellent, the notes filling us in on the stories in an easily digestible way; and there are many photographs, of the performers as well as the composers. A recommended buy!" Gareth Hulse, Double Reed News (UK)

Listener Comment
"I loved the performance. My one-year-old daughter danced all the time and started to say 'oboe'!! (She knows less than 10 words...) It's magical, isn't it?" Graça Bandeira, Grijó, Portugal

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