This post is about the oboe pieces I’ve listened to, with some brief impressions. I haven’t been able to find too many solo compositions, like I did for flute, for example. The list also includes pieces for oboe with orchestral or piano accompaniment, which were more accessible for me. Where oboe parts are interesting in orchestral/ensemble/chamber music, these were also added. Besides this list, you can also take a look at my research about the oboe.
Unaccompanied Solo Oboe
Henri Tomasi – Evocations for Solo Oboe
In style, this piece reminded me a bit of Bozza’s pieces, which I’ve included in the flute repertoire list. Indeed, Tomasi’s style is often said to have much in common with Bozza. I loved the titles for the movements – Peruvienne, Nigerienne, Cambodgienne (Asparas) and Ecossaise, which show his interest in exotic foreign places, as well as the notation, especially the different time signatures and their exchanges. In Peruvienne, as Eschrich (n.d.) points out, Tomasi explores the rhythmic and percussive side of oboe, described as the result of imitating the ‘beating of a distant jungle drum’. Similarly, I enjoyed other peculiar instances of the nature-like sounds in the movement, mostly done by the effects such as glissando and ornamentation. I was just a bit surprised though by the detached low notes written with pianissimo, which is quite difficult to perform.
Percussive parts are also found in Nigerienne, almost like reminiscence to the Peruviene. Amidst the fast notes, the movement ends with slower section in 7/8 with repeated pitches, which nods slightly to the folk traditions and primitive cultures.
In terms of the percussive side, I absolutely loved a section in the danse part in the pentatonic Cambogienne, where the staccato and octave leaps in the danse part, as the score suggests, are indeed the imitation of a definite-pitched percussion instrument – xylophone! <The percussive side of the melodic instruments is something which never occurred to me before, until this composition. I think this would be something very interesting to explore and investigate in my future pieces.
After seeing the score, I would very much use it for the Magician in my second assignment piece. Ecossaise uses the Scottish elements, including the folk-line tune, and rhythmic elements such as the scotch snap, which I wrote about here. Overall, I really like the pieces, which showed me some of the extended techniques that can be used by advanced players.
Benjamin Britten – Six Metamorphoses After Ovid Op. 49
Eugene Bozza – Suite Monodique for Solo Oboe
Accompanied Solo Oboe
Eschrich, J. (n.d.) The Solo Compositions of Henri Tomasi for Double Reed Instruments. At: https://www.idrs.org/publications/controlled/DR/DR8.1/DR8_1Esh.htm