• John McCabe
  • Oboe d'Amore Concerto (1972)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Portsmouth Festival

  • 1(pic)222/2110/str
  • 14 min

Programme Note

This Concerto for Oboe d'amore and Chamber Orchestra was commissioned for the 1972 Portsmouth Festival and first performed by Jennifer Paull, to whom it is dedicated, with the Havant Chamber Orchestra conducted by Peter Craddock. It is in one continuous movement, falling into three main sections, the first slow, the central part quick, with the feeling of a Scherzo, and the conclusion slow, the work ending with the solo oboe d'amore alone.

Although most of the concerto is notated conventionally, there are some passages of a mildly aleatoric nature, giving the orchestral players a relative degree of freedom, and there are numerous episodes of a cadenza-like nature for the soloist, though these are integrated into the overall formal structure of the music rather than being isolated into one large-scale cadenza.

Underlying the concerto are some chords derived from Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings, though these are transformed throughout and never heard in their original form - they create the reservoir for all the themes and harmonies of the work. It is scored for fairly large chamber orchestra, with flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, trumpet, trombone and strings, the last-named frequently divided quite extensively.

© 1991 John McCabe