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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thea Musgrave, Chamber Works for Oboe, Nicholas Daniel

Chamber music for oboe in the modern camp is not precisely a commonplace, at least on disk, but Thea Musgrave's work in this realm is extensive and well worth hearing. Oboist Nicholas Daniel skillfully devotes himself to a full disk of it on the recent Chamber Works for Oboe (Harmonia Mundi 907568).

The music was written over a wide period of time, 1960-2009, but reflects a consistency of inspiration and craft on the composer's part. Her most recent works here were written specifically for Richard Daniel: "Cantilena," "Night Windows," "Take Two Oboes" and an arrangement of "Threnody" for cor anglais. Other winds, chamber ensemble, piano, and electronics combine with Nicholas's beautiful playing, with a sound ravishing, expressive and satisfyingly precise.

Perhaps this may not be a recital that would ordinarily be on your list of must haves--but it gives listeners a full, beautifully wrought program, a testament to the brilliance of Musgrave and Daniel. Recommended.

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