Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Rental
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

For me, the concerto is an inherently dramatic situation with many analogies to the theatre. For instance, a soloist (protagonist) may have a cadenza (soliloquy) in which to voice his or her essential nature, but the full development of a character requires a dialogue with other strong characters. For this reason, I very much enjoy choosing a special orchestration for a particular solo instrument, aiming for strong but complimentary orchestral forces.

An unusual feature in the Oboe Concerto is the use of the orchestral oboe, the oboe d'amore, and the english horn to form a sort of "close family" trio that interacts with the solo oboe throughout the course of the work.

One of my greatest pleasures in writing a concerto is in the opportunity for deep exploration of the "character" of a particular instrument. My goal is to allow the nature of the solo instrument to shape the work. I like to reconsider, not just the orchestration, but such questions as "What is virtuosity?"

In the case of the oboe, it seems to me that a soloist's higher virtuosity is displayed in the way a phrase is shaped, in the variety of color and shadings occurring in long melodic lines, the intensely vocal artistry of the finest solo player. So, while there are elements of brilliant orchestral display in it, this concerto issues largely from the "bel canto" spirit of the oboe.

The work is dedicated, with affection, to John Mack, whose artistry inspired it.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1990
Duration 20:00
Orchestration Solo Ob.; 2(Picc.) 3(Ob.d'amore/E.H.) 2 2(Cbsn.) - 4 2(Cornet) 0 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
Premiere 17th January, 1991. John Mack, Oboe, Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor

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