Instrumentation: for Oboe and Wind Ensemble
Commission by Dr. Victor Markovich, Director of Bands at Wichita State University
Premiered by the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble with Andrea Banke at Wichita State University on May 6, 2009.
Recording: Music of the Heart from the Heartland, Wichita State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble: Andrea Banke, oboe; Victor Markovich, conductor. Mark Records, 9048 MCD. Unedited recording of a live performance.
Notes: Concertino for Oboe and Wind Ensemble was commissioned by Dr. Victor Markovich, Director of Bands at Wichita State University, in order to showcase the remarkable playing of then-new oboe instructor Andrea Banke, also principal oboist of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, at an upcoming Kansas Music Educators Association convention. The work was performed at Wichita State University in May of 2009. After some revision of the orchestration for clarity, color and balance, the piece received its KMEA premiere in February of 2010.
Since this piece was intended to display the oboe as a virtuosic solo instrument, the idea of a concerto came to mind. Time constraints prohibited a full concerto, however; thus the title “Concertino” indicates the rhetoric of a concerto, rather than the standard form. One of my goals as a composer has been idiomatic instrumental writing, so I consulted closely with Ms. Banke during the composition of the oboe part in order to make it challenging and showy without being a chore to play. I didn’t want to neglect the beautiful singing quality of the oboe, though, which I featured in the outer sections of the piece. The structure, then, is a simple ABA form, the tonality being Dorian on d in the lyrical outer sections, and basically octatonic in the faster, more aggressive middle part. As for the style or artistic goal of the piece, let me say that in all of my works I have three basic interests: beauty, drama, and humor –though not necessarily all three at the same time. In approaching the dilemma of how to write music that is both contemporary and “accessible” I’ve pursued an aesthetic goal of etherealness or transcendence, while focusing each of my works around certain gestures or poetic images, usually dealing with nature or something about the human condition. Though the title “Concertino” seems rather dry, relating only to the structural nature of the piece, the underlying images of longing and transcendence were present in my mind and heart during its composition.