Monody : concerto for oboe and orchestra
by Carl Vine (1996)
Also known as: Concerto for oboe and orchestra
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Writing a work for solo oboe and orchestra poses considerable
challenges. Although one of the finest melodic instruments, the
oboe is easily overpowered, is a little harder to control than
other wind instruments, and lacks the timbral range of, say, the
string or percussion families. The solution here was to limit the
form to 'monody', or simple accompanied melody, and by limiting
orchestral size to a wind quartet, 2 horns, 2 trumpets,
percussion and strings.
The work falls into two broad sections : the first is slow-fast-slow, the second fast-slow-fast. The piece opens in a deliberately minor mode, mostly with a flattened second. This 'arabesque' sound world is complemented by melodic arabesques that seem inordinately idiomatic on the oboe. This progresses smoothly into a regular motoric section that concludes with brilliant trills on the oboe. The first part closes with a dirge built around a repetitive rhythmic cell that could be the beat either of a heart or of a funeral drum.
The second, shorter, part, opens in the same minor modality as the beginning of the piece, but this time in an energetic syncopated rhythm. This falls away abruptly to an un-measured melismatic solo and a brief cadenza before returning to close the work, this time in an unashamed major key.
Instrumentation: Solo oboe, flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, clarinet in B flat (doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani, percussion (2 players), strings.
Duration: 16 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Dedication note: Dedicated to David Nuttall
- In the form/style of: Concertos
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