Artaria 2 CD cover


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Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (1911) (oboe, oboe d’amore/oboe, cor anglais, cor anglais)

The ingenious double reed arrangement of this wonderful music was kindly created by composer/arranger/oboist Bruce Stewart especially for our local South Australian Double Reed Society’s annual ‘showcase’ public concert. Rosemary Stimson was an important and popular member of this committee – who planned and attended the concert – as well as teaching in many of South Australia’s schools for many years. The first performance was given with three professional colleagues, one of whom had been a pupil of Rosemary.

I chose Strauss’ sumptuous music for his 1911 opera Der Rosenkavalier (set in eighteenth century Vienna) as it features a lot of famous and beautiful oboe solos, hence the arrangement gave tertiary students and young professionals a chance to experience the flow of the work without orchestra and practice or hear them in some context. The decision to multitrack this (that is, play all the parts, recording over tracks already laid down, in a personal chamber music scenario) as a delightfully difficult challenge involving decisions of intonation, voicing, rubato and timbre changes on three different instruments (four parts). This work represents a producer’s challenge as well: many thanks to both Bruce and Richard for their talents and dedication.

P. Telemann: Sonata in E min (1727) TWV 40:104 (oboe d’amore, oboe d’amore)

This duet (which given Telemann’s flexibility as recorded in his title suggestions for instrumentation, I have recorded using two oboes d’amore) comes from the first published musical ‘periodical’ for amateur musicians, an entrepreneurial enterprise for the new fashion of home chamber music. Brilliantly conceived by Telemann for the newly emerging middle class market and part of my inspiration for this label Artaria, whose subscribers are equally valued for enabling and inspiring our publications. Telemann was then one of the world’s most prolific musicians, initially offered the position at St Thomas’ Church Leipzig that was eventually given to JS Bach, and godfather to one of Bach’s children. This volume of ‘Der Getreue Music Meister’ was part of the groundbreaking historic series created directly for his subscribers, with the following introduction:

“dedicated to: Messrs George BEHRMANN and Mr Pierre Dieteric TOENNIES
By GEORGE PHILIPPE TELEMANN, Director of Music at Hamburg
First edition. Printed at the author’s expense, in Hamburg, 1727.

The high regard which you accord to the fine Arts, following the example of your greatly esteemed parents: the natural talent which you have inherited from them, for Music, and the care which you have taken to develop these gifts, will permit me the liberty of offering you this small fruit of my labours. Gentlemen, I would count myself truly happy, if the pieces please you and contribute to your further progress in skills where you have already made great strides, albeit at a very tender age… My only purpose, dear Gentlemen, in dedicating these pieces to you, is to offer you some trifling indications of the utmost esteem in which I hold those favours which I have received from your generous families: trusting to be worthy of your affection by providing you with a small diversion for your hours of leisure…” (translation provided by David Cole)

L. v. Beethoven: Grand Trio (1795) op. 87 (oboe, oboe, cor anglais)

Composed for a similar market as Telemann’s original Der Getreue Music Meister series and therefore written for amateur musicians, Beethoven composed this Grand Trio in the early part of his career, when reflecting the style of Haydn and Mozart. However this Trio, described many commentators as mature, is full of Beethoven’s charismatic touches: syncopation or beat displacement, dynamic surprises and is satisfyingly complete with its four classical movements like a mini symphony. Printed several years after composition, in early 1800s by Artaria Editions, Vienna, Beethoven also allowed arrangements for several other combinations as well as the original Oboe Trio, which had been inspired by the virtuoso oboe and cor anglais playing by brothers Johann, Franz, and Phillip Teimer, all employed as court musicians by Emporer Joseph, whose court wind band (Harmonie Musik) included cors anglais, and who inspired Oboe Trios from several other composers.

E. Bozza: Les Bergers de Provence (1939) op. 43 (oboe, cor anglais)

Originally a violinist, born to professional musician parents, studying violin from the age of five with his father, Eugene Bozza went on to become one of the most prolific and idiomatic composers of music for wind instruments. Bozza was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1956. Director of the École Nationale de Musique in Paris from 1950-1975, he wrote many books of of etudes and solo works during this time for students and staff at his school and for competitions held at the Conservatoire in Paris, works which are still used today in many similar settings, for example auditions and chamber music competitions. I was given a copy of this delightful work as a parting gift when I emigrated to Australia in 2006, by a longstanding pupil with whom I had played many duets in our lessons.

Powning: ‘Septboe’ (2011) (7 x oboe)

Graham Powning is another prolific composer of music for wind instruments, especially his own instrument, the oboe, and anybody in Australia who has taken exams set by the AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) is likely to have heard of or played his music. When I was President of the Australian Double Reed Society, and Graham heard that I was planning to host the 2013 ADRS national conference in Adelaide, he sent me a copy of Septboe ‘to play with your pupils.’ Of course I did that, and has also been used as sightreading material in masterclasses I have taken in London (Royal College of Music) and Brazil (Campos de Jordao Festival)- as the parts have similar levels of difficulty and prominence, it is ideal for this purpose. But I began to wonder how it would sound if all the oboes had similar attack, vibrato wave form and were all phrasing with the same intention, so I decided to try layering it myself to hear the outcome. It was a very enjoyable process, which began the journey towards this studio album.

In addition to music making through collaboration, Artaria also has a music education mission: to inspire more music and to innovate in teaching methods and approach. Chamber music is an integral part of my teaching now: one which I can remember vividly from my own experiences as a student, tests and demonstrates so many crucial aspects of playing, without needing constant instruction, in real time, pupil and teacher together side by side. I offer this series of works as repertoire stemming from many of these teaching moments, created in our studio in Adelaide, with my producer and engineer during an enjoyable process of personal development and growth. There is also a video available of the Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, created with the kind cooperation of the National Trust of South Australia.

Celia Craig September 2019