MACMILLAN; VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Oboe Concertos

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: James MacMillan, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Harmonia Mundi

Media Format: Super Audio CD

Media Runtime: 65

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: HMU80 7573

HMU80 7573. MACMILLAN; VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Oboe Concertos

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Suite on English Folk Tunes, 'A time there was...' Benjamin Britten, Composer
Benjamin Britten, Composer
Britten Sinfonia
James MacMillan, Composer
Nicholas Daniel, Cor anglais
One James MacMillan, Composer
Britten Sinfonia
James MacMillan, Composer
James MacMillan, Composer
Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra James MacMillan, Composer
Britten Sinfonia
James MacMillan, Composer
James MacMillan, Composer
Nicholas Daniel, Oboe
Concerto for Oboe and Strings Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer
Britten Sinfonia
Nicholas Daniel, Conductor, Oboe
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer
The Britten Sinfonia’s latest offering launches with a deeply understanding performance of Vaughan Williams’s Oboe Concerto from Nicholas Daniel. It was with this very work that he first made his mark as winner of the 1980 BBC Young Musician of Year competition and, to judge from the present display, it’s a piece that still means a very great deal to him. Not only do his flawless discipline, liquid tone, exquisite chiaroscuro and seemingly superhuman breath control ravish the ear, he also encourages his colleagues to give of their polished and raptly committed best. Time really does seem to stand still as the evening hush descends towards the end of first movement; and when the pace slows to Lento for the work’s final full flowering at eight after fig V (or 7'01"), it distils an unforgettable sense of blissful wonder here.

Daniel proves just as convincing an advocate of the 24-minute concerto that James MacMillan fashioned for him in 2010. At its core is a substantial reworking of an earlier piece for solo oboe entitled In angustiis (‘In Distress’), penned as a cathartic response to the horrific events of 9/11, and whose raw emotion and sorrowful anguish throw into bolder relief the motoric rhythms and feisty humour of the shorter movements. It’s a strongly communicative, sincere work that continues to lure me back, and Daniel’s contribution is past praise in its virtuosity and eloquence. MacMillan himself partners with sympathy and also secures finely chiselled accounts of his own pithy One for chamber orchestra (2012) as well as Britten’s haunted and haunting 1974 Suite on English Folk Tunes – the latter both more sharply focused and, in the valedictory ‘Lord Melbourne’, daringly spacious than either Rattle’s CBSO or Bedford’s Northern Sinfonia versions (EMI, 6/86; Naxos 12/98). Excellent sound and truthful balance throughout: this anthology merits a strong recommendation.

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