Oboe Concerto (Ross Edwards); Yanada; Ulpina
Diana Doherty (oboe)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
ABC Classics 476 7173
reviewed by Neville Cohn
This represents a splendid confluence of talents – of top Australian composer Ross Edwards, ace oboist Diana Doherty and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arvo Volmer.
Ross Edwards’ highly idiosyncratic, instantly recognisable compositional style is employed to engaging effect in his recent Oboe Concerto, recently given its USA premiere in New York.
In this recording, made in June 2004 in Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University, Doherty is in her usual impeccable form. She sounds utterly authoritative here from the opening measures which take in a series of unaccompanied flourishes. The seemingly effortless command of the instrument, expressed in a stream of finely pitched, pure and luminous sound, engages the attention instantly. An often elaborate solo line is complemented by dainty orchestral seasonings.
Edwards’ concerto is in a single movement and its 18-minute-long duration seems all too short. Whether slow and pensive, teasing or puckish, the concerto is a rich repository of some of Edwards’ most diverting, invariably accessible ideas, delights and fascinates the ear as the work oscillates between exotic, faux-Arabian measures and hauntingly elfin episodes – and syncopated rhythms on wood blocks and a wildly abandoned dance-type finale adding another dimension of listening pleasure. I would be surprised if the work fails to find a place in the standard repertoire.
Yanada is another delight, a four-minute unaccompanied excursion into a quietly reflective world, given deeply expressive treatment by Doherty. Ulpirra is utterly different mood-wise with its darting, perky, mischievous
Copyright 2005 Neville Cohn