Han de Vries at 70 - a tribute
Oboe Classics CC2024
9 cds and 2 dvds (c.11 hours, c. £50)
A milestone in the history of recorded music.
This great oboist and musician has been honoured by a huge team of colleagues and well-wishers for his 70th birthday, in a manner surely unprecedented.
Han de Vries's prolific radio recordings are most of them from live performances (which I prefer) and many of them taken from preserved private cassette collections.
They have been refurbished when necessary and made available for the public good with the cooperation of copyright holders, and particularly as a resource for oboists and lovers of the instrument.
I had expected to play both the DVDs and sample the CDs, but they are most of them so compelling that we will be listening to the whole archive over the next week or two.
Unless you're resistive to jazz, I recommend starting with the Willem Breuker DVD, which has de Vries fitting in comfortably with two jazz combos, the Metropole Orchestra (conductor H.K.Gruber) and Breuker's own Willem Breuker Kollektief, with interviews that help you to get to know this important and versatile oboist - his instrument is a rarity in jazz circles.
Many of the works are otherwise unavailable and would otherwise not feature on their composers' future discographies.
By coincidence, these recordings have come my way at the same time that our own leading British oboist Nicholas Daniel (who recently received the Queen’s Medal for Music for his contribution to British musical life) will be celebrating his 50th birthday at Kings Place, London in two concerts 3 & 4 October; maybe de Vries will be amongst those invited to share the occasion?
This is a recorded feast compiled by oboist Peter Bree of music old and new featuring the oboe, one which will refresh memories and surely guide some youngsters into opting to study this favourite instrument, whose active repertoire extendss back to the 18th Century.
A boxed collection of the year to be considered for purchase by everyone inerested in the oboe and in the history of broadcasting of classical and conteporary music of the period. The documentation and whole presentation are excellent.
Peter Grahame Woolf