Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

Oboe Concerto (1987)

  • General information
    • Composition date: 1987
    • Duration: 25 mn
    • Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
    • Commission: Paul Sacher
    • Dedication: à Paul Sacher
Detailed formation
  • soloist: oboe
  • flute (also alto flute, piccolo), clarinet (also bass clarinet), horn, trombone, 2 percussionists [dont 1 de concertino] , 10 violins [ou 8] , 8 second violins [ou 6] , 6 violas [ou 4 dont 4 du concertino] , 6 cellos [ou 4] , 4 double basses [ou 2]

Premiere information

  • Date: 17 June 1988

    Suisse, Zurich


    Heinz Holliger : hautbois, Collegium Musicum de Zurich, direction : Paul Sacher.

Program note

Expressing what the composer has called “widely varying, mercurial moods,” the oboe sings from one end of this work to the other. Its songs are seconded by a concertino group of four violas plus a percussionist, while the main orchestra (still chamber-sized) “opposes their flighty changes with a more regular series of ideas, usually on the serious side, sometimes bursting out dramatically”. Playing continuously, the piece broadly follows the usual fast-slow-fast pattern of concertos, with the soloist challenged in the “slow movement” by the trombone — but not for long before oboistic playfulness and expressivity win through. Paul Sacher commissioned the work for Heinz Holliger, who gave the first performances at the time of the composer’s eightieth birthday.

Paul Griffiths.