The Oboe Concerto was originally written in 1989 for Susan Busby and the Hatcham
Chamber Orchestra. She gave the world premiere performance of the original version,
but this turned out to be rather longer and more self-indulgent than I had intended.
I needed to re-write substantial sections - particularly in the last movement - and
the surgeon's scalpel was sharpened up to tighten the slow movement significantly.
Tony Harrison, who conducted that early version in addition to the Chandos recording,
was pivotal in guiding me through what was at the time a quagmire of orchestration
and structure. He never minced his words or let me off the hook: when something needed
cutting or re-writing he would say so, and would assist in the reconstruction with
unbounded generosity. In fact, it is true to say that in the end most of the Oboe
Concerto was orchestrated by him.
I am especially fond of this piece. It is in some ways an adolescent work, but it
is with more than a pang of regret that I look back at its youthfulness and naivety,
things which I try to cling on to even now but which, by and large (the shaving-mirror
reminds me) are gone forever!
To buy the sheet music (piano reduction) or hire the orchestral parts click here.