Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Benjamin Britten: another take on the Oboe Quartet.

I recently posted what is probably one of the earliest reviews of a work by Britten that had been performed at the 1934 International Society for Contemporary Music at Florence. Here is another review of the same performance – this time by Walter Legge. Naturally the Goossens mentioned is Leon.

“The only British work in the programme – Benjamin Britten’s Oboe Quartet- was like Larssen’s work (a Sinfonietta) hampered by conditions. It was placed at the beginning of a programme that began half and hour late, and when Goossens and the Griller quartet were about to begin there was a further delay- to silence an orchestra that was rehearsing in an adjoining room. Britten could do well to shorten this work by three or four minutes. As it stands it is too slender for its length, and for all the cleverness of its structure, the thematic material is not important enough in character to hold the listener’s attention throughout”.
Walter Legge The Musical Times June 1934

An excellent performance of this early work can be hear on Hyperion with Sarah Francis as the soloist

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