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Two Recent Vaughan Williams Oboe Concertos, One Critically-Acclaimed, the Other, An Underdog With Little Press.





I really like VW's Oboe Concerto and MacMillan's Harmonia Mundi release was one of my first acquisitions, (in super duper DSD), but I found myself slightly disappointed by the flatness of the sound and graininess in the strings. Granted, the accompanying chamber orchestra doesn't get many star turns in this piece, but in the closing pages, they finally get to sing and it's one of the most beautiful couple of seconds in all Vaughan Williams. Hard to enjoy when one's teeth are set on edge.

As for the oboist, IMHO MacMillan is dreamy to a fault and as a consequence the performance loses its way.

I discovered that Geoffery Deemer and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia have recorded piece as well so I thought, why not? (The VW is obviously not listed on the cover.)





I like this performance better. Strings are still not as smooth as I'd like, (Come on, engineers, it's 2017!) but thanks to the more holographic recording, (2 channel) the chamber orchestra is laid-out more realistically. VW's polyphony is densely woven to say the least and the oboist's warbling is often closely imitated by the cello and viola: these delightful conversations are barely overheard in the HM issue, but captured beautifully by the Philly team.

Compared to MacMillan, Deemer is much better at propelling the piece along. Coupled with COP's clearer projection of VW's often quicksilver harmonic progressions, The COP release makes for a more satisfying listen.


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Topic - Two Recent Vaughan Williams Oboe Concertos, One Critically-Acclaimed, the Other, An Underdog With Little Press. - jdaniel@jps.net 09:08:29 03/08/17 (6)

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