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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe

Ready, Steady, Blow! CC2010
Ready, Steady, Blow CD cover
An introduction to the oboe: The World of the Oboe CD cover

(Click underlined pieces to hear MP3 format sound clips.)

This music is all in the UK Grade 0 to 3 range of difficulty. It ranges from Mediaeval to Modern, and from Handel to Harry Potter. Percussion has been added to the mediaeval items, and bongos to the Latin American ones. Each track can be played as a backing for the student to perform with. The music is easily obtainable, with some tutors or collections covering several tracks (full details are in the CD booklet).
[all works for oboe and piano unless specified]

Arlen Somewhere over the Rainbow
Barratt Round Dance (ob, pno, tabor)
Byrd John come kiss me now
Chédeville Musette (ob, cor, pno), Tambourin (ob, tambourine)
Czerny Rise and Shine
Ellerton Looking Glass World
Gershwin I Got Rhythm
Grieg Piece II
Handel Air
HarrisTango (ob, bongos)
Head A Song of the Hills
Henry VIII Pastime with Good Company (ob, pno, tabor)
the first page of music to 'Dragonfly' Hook Minuetto
Mozart La ci darem
Parker Freeway, Sunday Morning
Purcell Air
Schumann First Loss
Richardson Chi-Chi's Dance
Rose Calypso (ob, bongos)
Traditional Comin' round the Mountain (2 obs), Good night, Ladies (2 obs), London's Burning (3 obs), Polish Folk Tune, Summer is icumen in (7 obs)
Wastall Corumbá (2 obs, bongos)
Wedgwood Dragonfly, Easy Tiger, Wrap it up, Hot Chilli, Cat Walk
Williams Hedwig's Theme

   [Total length: 75 minutes]

The main purpose of this CD is to show that there is a wealth of good music, in many styles, available to the oboe beginner. These pieces are within the general Grade 3 level, and some of them can be played after just a few lessons, so that learning the oboe can be a musical experience right from the beginning. The tracks are marked 0 to 3, to indicate their general technical level, where 0 indicates a pre-Grade 1 piece.

There are two exceptions to the Grade 3 limit - Mozart's La ci Darem (Grade 4), because it points the way to a new world of musical expression, and Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter, because, as one teacher put it, it is by far the nicest way to learn the bottom two notes on the oboe.

The selection was made in consultation with a number of teachers. I asked them which pieces their pupils responded to with enthusiasm. I soon noticed the same pieces being mentioned time and again. Some pieces were liked by some teachers and not by others, and I added in my own preferences, and take full responsibility for the final choice.

It was also necessary to stick to a smallish number of books or tutors, so that the pupil is not faced with a large music bill. Where only one piece has been included from a particular collection, it always means that there are other equally good pieces in that book. Exclusion of a book of pieces does not mean it is not good. Attention was also paid to the various exam syllabuses for Grades 1 to 3; some of these pieces appear there, some do not.

Musicians of
Logo of Trinity College of Music, London
This CD is recorded by the Graduate Students of Trinity College of Music in London,
who took their post-Graduate Diploma in performing in June 2004

oboist Uchenna Ngwe Uchenna Ngwe (left) plays Cat Walk, Comin' Round the Mountain, Dragonfly, Easy Tiger, Freeway, Good Night Ladies, Hot Chilli,
I Got Rhythm, London's Burning, Summer is icumen in, Sunday Morning, Wrap it up.
Jenni Britton (right) plays Calypso, Comin' Round the Mountain, Corumbá, London's Burning, Good Night Ladies, Pastime with Good Company, Musette, Round Dance, Summer is icumen in, Tambourin, Tango. oboist Jenni Britton
Julia White (right) plays Corumbá, First Loss, Handel Air, La ci darem, London's Burning, Piece II, Looking Glass World, Somewhere over the Rainbow,
A Song of the Hills.
oboist Julia White oboist Alex Birchall Alex Birchall (left) plays Chi-Chi's Dance, Hedwig's Theme, John come kiss me now, Minuetto, Polish Folk Tune, Purcell Air, Rise and Shine!
Amy Kelly playing bongos Amy Kelly (left) plays tabor in Pastime with Good Company, Round Dance, Summer is icumen in; tambourine in Tambourin; and bongos in Calypso, Corumbá, Tango.
Marcus Andrews (far right) plays all the piano parts with Jenni Britton, Julia White and Alex Birchall, and
Philip Cornwell (right) plays all the piano parts with Uchenna Ngwe.
pianist Philip Cornwell pianist Marcus Andrews
In the CD booklet the oboists talk about how they got started on the oboe. It has 16 pages
in full colour (English only), with more photos and information, and how to obtain the music.

Comments on the CD

"What a brilliant idea! Well played and beautifully produced, this CD is great for inspiring people to carry on or even take up the oboe." Nicholas Daniel, International oboe soloist

"Several of my pupils and my colleagues' pupils have bought a copy and have enthused about its inspiration... I will continue to use it in my lessons and recommend it to both teachers and their pupils." Nicola Fairbairn, Double Reed News UK"

"This CD has no doubt gone towards my daughter Harriet continuing her oboe. I often play it on the kitchen player (because I like it) and Harriet (10 years old now) often says she looks forward to playing 'that' tune, or gets her oboe out to practice - I don't think we could wish for better!" Jill Gribbin

"Ready Steady Blow is a great CD as it contains different genres of music played by oboists and accompanied by pianists making it enjoyable to listen to. I have difficulty with rhythm and when asked to play Easy Tiger, Cat Walk and Hot Chilli with the piano for the first time, I remembered when to come in, the dynamics and even the rhythm. From following these pieces through with the CD, it helped me to play these tunes after one lesson of learning all three. It is now helping me with other rhythms of pieces which are not on the CD. I listen to the piece in my head, which is like listening to it on a CD, and put it into practice. I hope there will be many more CDs for beginner oboists as fun and as helpful as this one." Emily Williams, age 12

"I really enjoyed listening to the CD. It really helped to get my sound purer than it was. I enjoyed all the pieces but my favourite ones were Air by Handel, Purcell Air, Mozart La Ci Darem, Dragonfly by Pam Wedgwood, Parker Sunday Morning and Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter." Jessie Chorley, owner of the hands on the CD cover

Logo of hofnote.co.uk By the way, if you're having trouble with Aural Tests (hearing beats in a bar, rhythms, singing notes etc) you could try www.hofnote.co.uk. It costs money, but could save time (and embarrassment) practising with a computer rather than with your teacher!

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