Concerto for Oboe
Oboe: John Anderson
London Festival Orchestra
Concerto for Oboe was premièred by the London Festival Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London on the 9th September 1999 to a capacity audience. Conducted by Ross Pople, with eminent oboist John Anderson, the concert was in aid of The All Hallows House Foundation.
"Sketches for the concerto were first prepared in 1997 and I established early on, for reasons that I will not go into here, that I would write the work in the traditional three-movement form, with a light scoring to match the delicacy of the oboe's tone. Since writing those early drafts, the immediacy and accessibility of classical music has begun to come into focus and be question much more, and I am aware that the work perhaps falls into a newer phase of composition as the century draws to a close. Whether this is so or not, or even presumptuous to give it a historical perspective, I have tried to give the repertoire a new work that reflects and counter-balances other writing for the instrument.
As for the detail, I am wary of adding structural and technical comment. A work lives on its sounds, not from 'academic' analysis. Suffice to say that the opening gives the thematic material for the whole work and I have left the instrument itself to make both the opening and closing statements of the concerto, with pizzicato cellos to begin the second movement with the adjusted motif. Perhaps because of my background with classical guitar, I am always aware of the emotive element within my writing, usually being concerned with its restraint and layering. So, if something other than the initial emotion is established or detected, then that would be pleasing." - MS 1998
Note September 2020
Looking back at works from more than twenty years ago, I find my reaction very different, some still seem to work even with much more experienced eyes, some would be much better for revision, and some it's better not to think about. I suspect that this concerto falls into the middle category, it would likely benefit from a good revision, particularly using the increased knowledge, and indeed confidence, in orchestration that I now have. Tightening and shortening the structure often helps, but in saying that, often melodies from years back have a freshness and perhaps naivety that couldn't be written now.