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This DVD is a documentary of Heinz Holliger, the leading oboist of our day. As a composer Holliger has become a classic exponent of musical modernism, while as an oboist and conductor he is one of the most inspirational figures on the contemporary music scene. Here too we encounter him here as an enthusiastic guide through each of the work that recorded with the Keller Quartet in a private concert for the home viewer recorded at the Musik-Akademie in Basel in 2005. The programme is made up of four exceptionally interesting works, starting with Mozart’s Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello K 370, a kind of crypto-concerto that the 25year-old composer wrote in Munich in 1781. The next work is another early piece, Benjamin Britten’s Phantasy op. 2 for oboe and string quartet, which was composed in 1932, when the composer was 19. Holliger too was only 17 when he wrote his own Oboe Sonata in 1956–7, a work that strikes up a strange conversation between the oboist and his instrument. Bohuslav Martinu’s Fantasia for theremin, oboe, string quartet and piano is a mature work dating from 1945, when the composer was already 55 years of age. It was written for an instrument that is something like a pioneer of electronic instruments, invented by the engineer Lev Sergeyevich Termen (1896–1993) and operated by means of hand movements over a closed electrical circuit. It produces sounds that seem positively otherworldly. The work is delightfully rich in effect and introduces the viewer to a curiosity about early electronic music, thus rounding off an inspirational and entertaining concert on DVD.
Mozart: Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello, K. 370; Britten: Phantasy for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello, op. 2; Holliger: Sonata for Oboe solo; Martinu: Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, String quartet and Piano