Blessed by the god of oboesPosted: November 23, 2012
A while ago, someone expressed astonishment at my musical tastes, surprise that I didn’t listen exclusively to classical music while writing, since Seraphina is so evocative of classical music. This got me thinking: I was raised on classical music, almost exclusively, but I don’t really listen to it much anymore. I’m not sure why that is, if I just got tired of it, or if it’s simply that I’m drawn toward the new (to me) and that new (to me) classical music is a) harder to find, and b) requires more work to listen to, and I just don’t have the spare brains for it right now.
I imagine this is one of those questions one could delve into for a long time to little purpose. The upshot is, I have decided to go back in time a bit, to some of my favourite classical pieces I haven’t listened to in ages. A trip down memory lane, as it were.
Here’s some Ravel that one of my sisters reminded me of recently: Le Tombeau de Couperin. I own a recording of it, but I never listen to it, not because I don’t still love the piece but because in my recording they just play it too damn fast. Have a listen (and a look! And check out the awesome oboist!).
I had been baffled by my too-fast recording, but some of the comments below this video have brought something into focus for me: the oboist has to use circular breathing for some of the longer passages. Um, WOW. Playing it faster would mean you got to breathe sooner; maybe that’s why they take it so fast in my recording. Their oboist wasn’t as good as this Albrecht Mayer fellow.
What this really suggests, though, is that I need to look for a better recording for myself. Albrecht Mayer and the Berlin Philharmonic are a good place to start, it sounds like.
Ah, isn’t it gorgeous, though? Pastoral, lively, bright. I first listened to this piece when I was about 11 years old and was just reading Tolkien for the first time, so it’s still inextricably (and absurdly, perhaps) associated with hobbits and elves in my mind. But oh, that flute trill at the end is like audible sunlight. Good times, happy memories.