Review of our CD in “Early Music Review”

One of the nicest aspects of this review­ing lark is watch­ing and, if pos­si­ble, encour­ag­ing young musi­cians as they make their first steps into the com­plex world of pro­fes­sion­al music-mak­ing — and then fol­low­ing them as their careers devel­op. I often first hear them in stu­dent con­certs or dusty base­ments, or in com­pe­ti­tions like the for­mer Ear­ly Music Net­work Inter­na­tion­al Young Artists’ Com­pe­ti­tion (now run by Nation­al Cen­tre for Ear­ly Music in York). So it is always a thrill when I hear of their suc­cess­es or, as in the case of The Oboe Band, they send me their first CD. The Oboe Band (who are exact­ly what they say on the tin) were formed in 2005, were final­ists in the 2007 com­pe­ti­tion, and were Ensem­ble in Res­i­dence at the Roy­al Col­lege of Music from 2006–8. War & Peace is an appro­pri­ate tile for their CD, as the ear­ly his­to­ry of the oboe cov­ered both even­tu­al­i­ties. The attrac­tive­ly pre­sent­ed pro­gramme reflects the his­to­ry of the instru­ment and its music dur­ing the 17th and ear­ly 18th cen­turies. The inevitable tran­scrip­tions work well, par­tic­u­lar­ly the two Pur­cell suites. The play­ing is excel­lent through­out, with some impres­sive use of artic­u­la­tion and dynam­ics in their insight­ful inter­pre­ta­tions. I can assure any read­ers who might think that an entire CD of oboes is the sort of thing designed to annoy the neigh­bours that this is far more like­ly to delight. Andrew Ben­son-Wil­son