English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch
Paul Patterson Phoenix Concerto
Ralph Vaughan-Williams Concerto for Oboe
Herbert Howells Oboe Sonata, orch. Wallfisch
Paul Patterson's Phoenix Concerto gives solo oboist Emily Pailthorpe the character of the mythical Phoenix Firebird itself: mercurial, sensuous, mesmerising and captivating. Commissioned by David Bowerman and first performed in 2009, this is the world premiere recording. Patterson writes "The fire, passion and power of the Phoenix are very present in the outer movements of this piece, with the last movement filled with mesmerising dance-rhythms. The oboe's unparalleled ability to recreate the feel of exotic birgsong is showcased in the opening cadenza and central slow movement." Alongside this new work is Vaughan Williams' beloved Concerto in A minor for Oboe and Strings, composed for another great exponent of the oboe, Leon Goossens, in 1944. Although superficially a work of pastoral serenity and bucolic piping for the soloist, there are undercurrents that remind the listener that it was composed in wartime. The Howells Oboe Sonata is another world premiere, here in a new orchestration by Benjamin Wallfisch for strings with harp, played by Hugh Webb. In its original incarnation (not heard until after the composer's death in 1982, and with heavily orchestral piano writing) the work presented problems to its dedicatee, again Goosens, who said he had "serious reservations". Of this new arrangement, however, Pailthorpe says: "I feel liberated. I can float my sound over the breadth of the ECO strings, and the harp texture is wonderful...".