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Britten, Krenek, Doráti
Helen Jahren, oboe & Elisabeth Westenholz, piano

Benjamin Britten
Temporal Variations for oboe and piano (1936)
Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe (1951)
Two Insect Pieces for oboe and piano (1935)

Antal Doráti
Five Pieces for solo oboe (1980-81)
Duo concertante for oboe and piano (1983)

Ernst Krenek
Sonatina for solo oboe (1956)
Four Pieces (1966)

BIS-CD-737 [TT: 72'18]

A valuable collection of key 20 C repertoire for the oboe from a renowned Swedish oboist, one-time pupil of Heinz Holliger, usefully bringing together Britten's important contributions. For BIS, Helen Jahren has previously recorded Schnittke's concerto for oboe and harp, and this new CD has a thoughtfully chosen selection including two composers easily overlooked, Krenek because of his eclecticism and fecundity (the works here are Opp. 156 & 193) and Doráti because he is better remembered as a great conductor.

Only the Metamorphoses have established themselves with oboists; the Temporal Variations suffered eclipse after an unsatisfactory premiere, but now has a new lease of life in its original form, and also in Colin Matthews’s idiomatic arrangement with string orchestra.

Doráti's five solo pieces make a welcome recital alternative to the now almost over-familiar Britten set and the Duo alludes to Bartok and his Eastern European sources. Krenek wears his serialism of the period (c.1960) lightly, and all in all this is an original and highly successful disc, perfectly recorded and well documented.

© Peter Grahame Woolf