STEPHEN DODGSON (1924-2013): Oboe Quartet (Tagore String Trio), GORDON CROSSE (b.1937): Variations for Oboe and Cello "Little Epiphany", PETER DICKINSON (b.1934): 4 Duos for Oboe and Cello (Rohan de Saram [cello]) (World Premiere Recordings), GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): 7 Bagatelles for Solo Oboe, HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Oboe Sonata (Peter Dickinson [piano].
Catalogue Number: 12Q052
Reference: HTGCD 275
Description: Crosse's Little Epiphany is a set of variations using the same material as his Epiphany Variations for orchestra. The richness of texture suggests a larger ensemble than is actually present, with especially ingenious accompanying textures from the cello, including a marvellous drone-based section suggesting a piobaireachd treatment of the theme. Crosse's harmony is firmly based in tonality, somewhat Brittenesque, with a pungent use of dissonance underlying the incisive melodic writing for the oboe. The Dodgson is more straightforwardly tonal; a serious prelude with a Baroque feel leads to a lively scherzo, very English and pastoral in mood, though with a sense of drama in the picturesque landscape painting. The larger third movement traverses wider emotional territory in the course of a set of variations, with more elaborate instrumental writing and a more concertante role for the oboe. Three of Dickinson's little duos are based on a note-row borrowed from Ives, and all four are characterful, enigmatic pieces in which the two instruments, both treated as equal soloists, dance around each other in a variety of moods and contrasting material. The brief Jacob Bagatelles are simple character pieces, full of charm and wit, eloquently and idiomatically written for the instrument. Howells' substantial sonata with its episodes of drama, melancholy and serenity in the composer's trademark very English, warmly tonal vocabulary, rounds out this most attractive disc. Sarah Francis (oboe).