Pastoral Fables: Works for cor anglais and piano

Alexandre Oguey, Neal Peres Da Costa

Pastoral Fables: Works for cor anglais and piano
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Pastoral Fables: Works for cor anglais and piano

Alexandre Oguey, Neal Peres Da Costa

On Pastoral Fables, Alexandre Oguey and Neal Peres da Costa take famous sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann and rearrange them for cor anglais and period piano.
The cor anglais (woodwind instrument of the oboe family) is the instrument used by many composers in some of the most arresting moments of the symphonic repertoire, from Berlioz and Wagner to Shostakovich and Ravel, but its solo repertoire is unfortunately very restricted.

In an effort to bring this beautiful, expressive instrument and its dark, flexible tone into the light, Alexandre (Principal Cor Anglais in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and Neal (Professor of Historical Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) undertook extensive research into historical performance techniques. The end result is a gorgeous, beautifully-performed disc of several well-known works of the classical music canon in fresh and thought provoking interpretations.


Many people wouldn’t be able to name a cor anglais (or English horn) if they tripped over it. And it’s understandable, really, when it’s only sometimes used in orchestral music and almost never as a solo instrument. A large, more resonant version of the oboe, they do get some of the most sumptuous melodic lines in the repertoire. I haven’t found a person yet who isn’t swept up by the cor anglais sound.

Alexandre Oguey is well known in Sydney musical circles, as principal cor anglais of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (yes that’s a thing), dedicated teacher at the Conservatorium and chamber musician, often with his wife, the principal oboe of SSO Diana Doherty. Here Oguey has arranged a number of late 17th Century works to be able to showcase his instrument. A French Horn piece, a couple of Schumann’s solo piano works, as well as his Violin Sonata and a Brahms Sonata that Brahms himself had rearranged a time or two. Each work sits naturally on the cor anglais with its deep sound allowed to stretch out in ways I’ve not often heard. This is truly a delightful album, for connoisseurs or the inexperienced classical listener alike; don’t let it disappear into the stacks.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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