Vaughan Williams and MacMillan - Oboe Concertos (2015)

Britten, MacMilan, Vaughan Williams

Nicholas Daniel

James MacMillan

The start of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ career was long and slow, and it was not until the publication of his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, together with The London Symphony of 1914, that he began to gain recognition from the public. Even his sometime teacher of composition, Henry Wood, had commented: ‘That foolish young man, Ralph Vaughan Williams... he was so hopelessly bad at it’. The difficulty, as Vaughan Williams lamented later in life, was his ‘amateurish technique’ and his dissatisfaction with the general state of the English music scene. Struggling to carve a niche for himself and to discover his own musical style, Vaughan Williams set about collecting as many of the country’s native folksongs as he could find, transcribing and preserving them as part of what became an extensive personal collection.

Over time, these songs came to permeate his own music, making him popular both with English audiences and with composers looking for fresh inspiration in their own work. Even towards the end of his composing career, Vaughan Williams was still finding creative stimulation from these folk materials and in 1953 he admitted: ‘I have so much music in my head I know I will never have time to write it down.’ But much to the nation’s surprise, instead of shying away from public life in his final years, Vaughan Williams seemed to launch himself into composition with renewed vigour, producing three new symphonies, a tuba concerto and several song cycles – among other works. 

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Britten Sinfonia

Britten Sinfonia is one of the world’s most celebrated and pioneering ensembles. It is praised for the quality of its performances and an intelligent approach to concert programming that is centred around the development of its players. Unusually it does not have a principal conductor or director but chooses to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum as suited to each particular project. Founded in 1992, it is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world class performances of the highest quality, illuminating and distinctive programmes where the old meets the new, and projects in the local community as well as in the world’s finest halls.

The orchestra is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London where it presents a major concert series each season. Britten Sinfonia also has residencies in Cambridge (where it is the University’s Orchestra-in- Association), Norwich and Brighton. The orchestra presents an award- winning chamber music series at London’s Wigmore Hall and regularly performs at many important European festivals including the BBC Proms. Britten Sinfonia’s international profile is blossoming with frequent touring throughout Europe and South America. The orchestra is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and records regularly.

Britten Sinfonia is proud to work with many of the world’s re- nowned performers and composers. Central to the orchestra’s artistic vision is a strong commitment to new music, encompassing numerous commissions by composers based in the UK and abroad. The orches- tra’s Creative Learning projects are also at the heart of Britten Sinfonia’s work. These range from pre- and post-concert talks and performances, to schools projects, coaching, master-classes and professional development opportunities for businesses.

Britten Sinfonia recordings have been Grammy® nominated and have received a Gramophone Award. The orchestra has received many other distinctions, including two prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 2007 and 2009.

www.brittensinfonia.com

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Vaughan Williams and MacMillan - Oboe Concertos (2015)

Britten, MacMilan, Vaughan Williams

Nicholas Daniel

    "Daniel makes it feel like an easy stroll down a particularly English country lane"

The long, sinuous song that is Vaughan Williams’s beguiling oboe concerto is something of a calling card for Nicholas Daniel. He won the BBC young musician of the year playing it and here he directs the Britten Sinfonia in addition to his role as soloist. It’s a huge work for any player (nearly 40 minutes of almost continuous solo work) but Daniel makes it feel like an easy stroll down a particularly English country lane. The MacMilllan concerto, on the other hand, is a seriously virtuosic piece, making big technical demands of its dedicatee, particularly in the hilariously hectic finale. This is a bravura display by Daniel, with lightly assured playing from the always-rewarding Britten Sinfonia.

Stephen Pritchard of The Guardian[read full review]

    "I consider this a demo quality disc"

This lovely disc contains two major British oboe concertos featuring soloist Nicholas Daniel with the Britten Sinfonia. The playing of the Britten Sinfonia is at the highest level. Audio-wise, this is a fine recording, with lovely string sounds and satisfying dynamics. The Sinfonia is nicely spread between the front speakers, while the rear channels provide ambiance that nicely reproduces the recording venue. While the music is mostly sedate, I consider this a demo quality disc for the richness of the sound and the care taken in the recording, done at St. John’s Smith Square in London.

Mel Martin - Audiophile Audition[read full review]

Vaughan Williams and MacMillan - Oboe Concertos (2015)

Britten, MacMilan, Vaughan Williams

Nicholas Daniel

Producer: Robina G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel, Matthew Bennett
Recording location: St. John's Smith Square, London
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807573DI: Vaughan Williams and MacMillan - Oboe Concertos
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Tracks.
1.
Concerto for oboe and strings in A Minor - I. Rondo Pastorale
Vaughan Williams
00:08:17   Select quality & channels above
2.
Concerto for oboe and strings in A Minor - II. Minuet and Musette
Vaughan Williams
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3.
Concerto for oboe and strings in A Minor - III. Finale (Scherzo)
Vaughan Williams
00:09:28   Select quality & channels above
4.
One
MacMilan
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5.
Oboe Concerto - I. [marcato e ritmico]
MacMilan
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6.
Oboe Concerto - II. Largo
MacMilan
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7.
Oboe Concerto - III. Allegro
MacMilan
00:07:41   Select quality & channels above
8.
"Suite on English Folk Tunes- ""A Time There Was"", Op. 90 - I. Cakes and Ale"
Britten
00:02:33   Select quality & channels above
9.
"Suite on English Folk Tunes- ""A Time There Was"", Op. 90 - II. The bitter whey"
Britten
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10.
"Suite on English Folk Tunes- ""A Time There Was"", Op. 90 - III. Hankin Booby"
Britten
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11.
"Suite on English Folk Tunes- ""A Time There Was"", Op. 90 - IV. Hunt the squirrel"
Britten
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12.
"Suite on English Folk Tunes- ""A Time There Was"", Op. 90 - V. Lord Melbourne"
Britten
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