I’m performing the first of my Spring recitals this weekend – Sunday the 18th at 3pm (Central time) in the Duesenberg Recital Hall at Valparaiso University. This is the same marvelous music that Paul and I played in Chicago back in January and February, and I was delighted with its reception back then. I’m presenting this Sunday’s concert with pianist Joseph Bognar, who is a great colleague of mine at Valpo.
I think one of my favorite aspects of this program is how smoothly it flows from one piece to the next and how nice the energy arc is over the hour. Although there are only four pieces, and only three composers, we have a lot of variability of mood and character which keeps the program from bogging down and gives me a lot to do in performance. Moving from the clarity and structure of the Telemann Fantasie to the crashing opening of the Dring Showpiece is jarring, yes, but the intimacy of the Romance brings the audience and performers back together to explore the whimsy of her Finale. The Pasculli is hard, hard work from my perspective, but its mix of familiar themes and tunes with spectacular oboe fireworks makes it exciting and fun for the listener.
The final Telemann oboe d’amore concerto has been the biggest challenge for me – in preparing the piece I struggled to make it interesting and exciting, and it never does compete with, say, the Pasculli in virtuosity and drama. But I think that’s what makes it a lovely end to the concert. When I just back off a little, and let the music speak for itself, in its own language, without pressure, the intelligence and beauty do come through. The Dring and Pasculli works are showpieces for me and for the oboe, and Telemann displays the beauty of the hall, the sound of the oboe d’amore, and the intelligence of the composer. It restores our jangled nerves and sends us out feeling refreshed and clean.
Future performances of this program will be presented in South Bend on May 4, and in Chicago on May 21.
And here I play the opening movement of the opening piece, and Paul films me beautifully.