Concerto for oboe and orchestra (1973)
Performers: Lothar Faber – oboe, Wielka Orkiestra Symfoniczna PR iTV w Katowicach, Stanisław Wisłocki – conductor, "Warsaw Autumn" 23 IX 1973
The work was commissioned by the brilliant oboist Lothar Faber, to whom it is dedicated. The premiere, featuring Faber, took place during the 17th Warsaw Autumn in 1973.
The composition’s traditional title does not translate into a traditional approach to the form. There is no clear division into movements; only a thorough analysis allows us to distinguish fragments based on the principle of agogic contrast (fast-slow-fast), preceded by an introduction and crowned with a specific coda. Instead of rivalry between the oboe and the orchestra, we find here the principle of domination of the solo instrument over the big body of the orchestra, the task of which is to accompany and balance the emotional fluctuation of the solo part. The nearly ceaseless narrative of the oboe is nervous and there are very few soothing fragments. In addition, the work is extremely technically difficult for the oboist, written against the instrument. Only this element can be treated as a virtuoso element for the soloist, in accordance with the tradition of the genre. Baird’s Concerto for oboe and orchestra is a restless piece owing to the noisy sound of the oboe and broken melodic phrase, which is incoherent, chaotic and hysterical. This is a sonorist composition, the domain of which is rough sound.
Zdzisław Sierpiński summed up his extensive and positive review of the work’s premiere in the following manner:
Let us leave the words aside, the value of the Concerto can be appreciated only by those who have listened to it and experienced it...
- Z. Sierpiński, “Pierwsze wrażenia” [“The first impressions”], Życie Warszawy, 26.09.1973, no. 230, p. 7.