JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Oboe Concerto (World Premiere Recording), One for Chamber Orchestra, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Suite on English Folk Tunes: A Time There Was, Op. 90, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Oboe Concerto in A Minor.
Catalogue Number: 04Q084
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Reference: HMU 807573
Description: MacMillan's concerto begins with a lively, rhythmically quirky movement full of technically challenging, exuberantly talkative solo passagework. Chordal interjections abruptly change the mood of the music. The slow movement is an extended version of a lament that MacMillan wrote after 9/11. The music attempts to maintain a solemn chorale-like texture, the opening and closing burdened with weeping glissandi, against which the soloist weaves a plangent thread of melody, now lamenting, now protesting, sometimes supported by consoling orchestral textures, sometimes assailed by strident opposing forces of doubt, violence and despair. These disruptions finally subside, and the movement ends in a mood of sorrowful resignation. The finale resumes the mood of the opening, but with broader, earthier humor, and the lampooning of some sacred cows in modernist trends, to the accompaniment of orchestral guffaws. The music is exhilarating, and breathtakingly virtuosic. The miniature One is a single monodic line, with a suggestion of Scots folksong about it, that gets passed around the orchestra to appear in different tone colorings, before a coda suddenly envelops it in a full palette of harmony. Britten Sinfonia; James MacMillan.