Oboe

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Alwyn,Elgar & Crusell,Francaix,Mozart,Poulenc
LABELS: Deux-Elles
WORKS: Oboe works by Mozart, Poulenc, Françaix, Alwyn, Elgar & Crusell
PERFORMER: The Fibonacci Sequence
CATALOGUE NO: DXL 1121

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The latest in The Fibonacci Sequence’s series featuring individual members of the ensemble highlights the oboist Christopher O’Neal. With strings, he plays the evergreen Mozart Quartet, and a virtuosic Divertimento by the early 19th-century Swedish clarinettist-composer Crusell.

There’s also a completion of a serene Mozart Adagio supposedly for cor anglais and strings, though more probably intended for clarinet and basset horns. The 20th-century French repertoire yields Poulenc’s joyous Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano and Jean Françaix’s bubbling woodwind Quartet. And there’s an English corner, with a tuneful little Suite for oboe and harp by William Alwyn, and O’Neal’s own neat arrangement of Elgar’s Salut d’amour for the same duo.

Christopher O’Neal’s playing of both oboe and cor anglais is bright, incisive and elegantly turned, in the now somewhat unfashionable British tradition of his teacher Terence McDonagh. His colleagues match his artistry and expertise, not least with unusually well characterised string playing in the Mozart Quartet.

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Extremes of dynamics aren’t always observed in the French pieces – unless that’s the fault of the very upfront recording. And four bars have gone missing in the slow movement of the Françaix. But these are merely minor blemishes on a very enjoyable disc. Anthony Burton