Diane Doherty (oboe)
Mark Summerbell (conductor)
ABC Classics 980 046-3
reviewed by Neville Cohn
This collection of miniatures for the oboe provides almost untrammelled listening pleasure. A joy from start to finish, this is a recital that many a lesser oboist would give eye-teeth to emulate. Because Doherty is blessed with extraordinary control of an instrument that is notoriously temperamental, she is freed from the physical constraints lesser musicians might labour under so that she can give full attention to interpretative aspects of the performance.
The pieces here recorded are beautifully presented, rather like a chaplet of gems, each stone finely facetted and mounted. Listen to Piazzolla’s Oblivion coming across, nostalgia-laced, in a way that haunts the mind. Another delight is the Andante from J.C.Bach’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat. As it unfolds – and this would apply to just about the entire compilation – it generates such a ‘come-hither’ quality that it leaves one with the impression that, had Doherty walked down some highway while demonstrating her wizardry on the oboe, it would surely have attracted anyone hearing it to follow her, Pied Piper-fashion.
Ross Edwards’ Love Duet from his Oboe Concerto is another delight, with Doherty adapting chameleon-like to music that oscillates between the sensuous and the achingly poignant. There are beautifully synchronised cor anglais figurations
from Alexandre Oguey, who is clearly a musician to be reckoned with. He is also Diane Doherty’s husband! In performance, a line note explains that instead of the soloist standing in front of the orchestra, as is customarily the case, Doherty here moves to a position alongside her husband which gives a charming romantic dimension to the duet. He teams up with Doherty again in another Oz-generated jewel: Ross Edwards’ Love Duet from his Oboe Concerto. This exquisite, instantly accessible miniature makes for compelling listening with its washes of harp tone and quasi mid-eastern harmonies that call the sound tracks of some of Cecil B. de Mille’s biblical movie epics to mind, all complementing Doherty’s sinuous and sensuous oboe line.
And in Carl Vine’s Love Me Sweet, Doherty’s playing is an object lesson in what lyrical oboe playing is all about. Another delight is the ubiquitous Maria from Bernstein’s West Side Story, not least for an impeccable, light-textured accompaniment against which Doherty traces a faultless oboe line.A Bach adagio in C minor is less convincing, its pace too brisk for so gentle an utterance.
© 2004 Neville Cohn