Six Metamorphoses after Ovid Op. The piece was inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is dedicated to oboist Joy Boughton , daughter of Benjamin Britten's friend and fellow composer Rutland Boughton , who gave the first performance at the Aldeburgh Festival on 14 June Each of the six sections is based on a character from Roman mythology who is briefly described: . The music of the first metamorphosis echoes the "free-spirited" character of its titular figure: it is unmeasured and includes frequent pauses.
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Works for solo oboe are still relatively rare today, but these pieces helped transform the repertoire and perception of the instrument. Although Britten had already written some accomplished pieces for oboe and other forces the Phantasy Quartet Op. Both emphasised the wide-open sounds of the piece, with Britten enjoying writing lyrically, mischievously or slightly sadly. For these pieces are very distinct in mood, responding as they are to the different mythological figures.
The contemplation of Narcissus is thoughtful, but I was sure towards the end of Arethusa that I could detect a parallel with the Sixth Cello Suite of Bach — probably not intentional but the two pieces share a key and the brilliance of the treble range. Britten gives his music a great sense of freedom here, enjoying the wide range of colour and phrasing the oboe has to offer — indeed, Pan is close to a saxophone in its richness.
Oboe students will certainly want the package on Oboe Classics. Masterminded by George Caird, it is an exceptional educational tool that comes complete with a comprehensive analysis by the author, who also performs early manuscript versions. In addition there are complete accounts of the six pieces by Joy Boughton, the dedicatee, and Nicholas Daniel, who will be talking in an interview with this blog about the works very soon. I also focused on two other recordings, an early one from Janet Craxton and a digital version from Sarah Francis.
Francis has more depth to her sound and is a little more languid in the slow music, again securing a gorgeous tone. This playlist includes a number of versions of the Metamorphoses , including the package available on Oboe Classics.
I have an old vinyl here with Vitezlav Hanus oboe released in on Supraphon in former Czechoslavakia. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email. Good Morning Britten. Skip to content. Home Welcome to team BB! With thanks to Hyperion. Spotify This playlist includes a number of versions of the Metamorphoses , including the package available on Oboe Classics. Also written in Elliott Carter — String Quartet no.
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Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, op. 49, by Benjamin Britten, 1951.