Strauss/Vaughan Williams/Schickele

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Strauss/Vaughan Williams/Schickele
LABELS: Carlton
WORKS: Oboe Concerto in D; Oboe Concerto in A minor; Oboe Concerto
PERFORMER: Pamela Pecha (oboe) Moscow PO/Paul Freeman
CATALOGUE NO: 30366 00652
Now here’s an international medley: American, British and German oboe concertos, played and conducted by American performers with a Russian orchestra, engineered in Moscow and Prague, and sold under licence by a division of Carlton Home Entertainment. That said, there’s much to commend this collection; the recordings, for one thing, in a rough, immediate sound that has the bite of analogue. Lacking the kind of inbuilt assumptions that native soloists might deliver, Pamela Pecha, first female woodwind player in the Cleveland Orchestra, delivers readings of refreshing clarity that mean Strauss without schmaltz and Vaughan Williams minus the pastoral air.

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Other oboists will note her felicitous phrasing and darkly bitter-sweet timbre. The dreamy, Indian Summer approach to these famous late works does not apply, yet there’s still a wealth of poetry. The 1994 concerto by Peter Schickele is welcome for its merry mix of jazz and folksong, beginning with bells and an elegant tune that unfolds through many diversions. A scherzo, chant, dances and epilogue take off in different ways, with never less than entertaining results. It’s an elegant piece of refinement and craft, as you might expect from the alter ego of the famous composer PDQ Bach. Nicholas Williams