Airs, Blues & Dances | Champs Hill Records CHRCD099

Airs, Blues & Dances


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Label: Champs Hill Records

Cat No: CHRCD099

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 1st July 2016



James Turnbull explores rich and varied repertoire of the past thirty years, showcasing the versatility of writing for the oboe in solo repertoire. ‘It is the contrast between compositions that fascinates me most about the music we recorded.’

The recital disc opens with Tippett’s autumnal Prelude, arranged for oboe and piano by Meirion Bowen, the composer’s personal assistant and biographer.

Richard Rodney Bennett remained fascinated by John Playford’s country dances, setting them for a variety of instruments. There’s a folk music link with Jonathan Dove’s Music for a Lovelorn Lenanshee, which takes inspiration from the popular song ‘My Lagan Love’ from County Donegal, and first published in 1904 and popularised by John McCormack

Retaining a folk connection, Judith Weir’s Mountain Airs, scored for flute, oboe and clarinet, use the music of two traditional Scottish melodies, each freely adapted.

The evocative colours of Anthony Powers’s In Shadow are a sound-world away, where amongst other effects, he creates myriad colours from the marriage of piano pedal notes and high-lying melodic lines

Charlotte Bray’s Late Snow for solo oboe was inspired by M.R. Peacocke’s eponymous poem, a striking expression of the transition from life to death and beyond.

David Matthews’s Montana Taylor’s Blues is named for Arthur ‘Montana’ Taylor , whose high-octane boogie-woogie and inventive blues playing attracted a cult following among jazz fans in the 1940s. Matthews says: ‘I was particularly struck by the poignant harmony which suggested that Taylor must have heard some classical music – Schubert? – during his itinerant life.’

The oboe’s expressive capabilities are probed and projected in Three Miniatures by Helen Grime.

Joseph Phibbs’s Vocalise, created in 2005, is conditioned by the effortless simplicity of the miniature work’s oboe melody and enhanced by the shimmering beauty of its piano part.

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