Mozart Sonatas - Olivier Stankiewicz. © 2021 Delphian Records Ltd

CD Spotlight

An Exemplary Partnership

GEOFF PEARCE is impressed by Mozart Violin Sonatas transcribed and played by oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, accompanied by Jonathan Ware

'... the performances here are astounding.'


I was very interested to review this disc as Olivier Stankiewicz is one of my favourite oboists and I had not heard these transcriptions before. Many transcriptions are not terribly successful, at least in my opinion, whilst others seem a better fit for the adopted instrument.

The first sonata on the disc is K 454, a three-movement sonata in B flat major. This work was written in 1784. There is quite a lot of virtuosity needed to bring this off as an oboe sonata, Olivier Stankiewicz possesses an assured technique, a wide range of articulation skills and is an expressive player with a bright vibrant sound. This work required one to play with a wide range of expression and range, and this is very well presented. His ornamentation is elegant and neat. There are a few figuring passages, characteristic of string writing, which are rather more difficult to execute on the oboe, but Stankiewicz takes these in his stride.

Listen — Mozart: Allegretto (Sonata in B flat, K 454)
(track 3, 6:11-6:43) ℗ 2021 Delphian Records Ltd :

The second sonata here, K 304, was composed in 1778 and is in two movements. Throughout, the recording illustrates what a fine pair these two artists make. This would not be an easy work to put together as whilst there is a lot of independence between the parts, there is also a requirement as far as articulation, phrasing, attack and balance are concerned. Considerable stamina is also required of the oboist, and he shows no signs of flagging. The contrapuntal sections come off particularly well. I particularly like the second movement of this sonata, a Tempo di Menuetto. The line is more relaxed and both players can give full attention to the cantabile lines. This is elegant music and there are a few devilish trills on the oboe, executed with aplomb. The trio section is really lovely, and to me is the highlight of this disc.

Listen — Mozart: Tempo di Menuetto (Sonata in E minor, K 304)
(track 5, 2:47-3:32) ℗ 2021 Delphian Records Ltd :

The K 378 sonata, like the first one, a three movement sonata in B flat major, rounds off this disc. This work was published in 1781. Real partnership is required here as there is considerable swapping of the melodic interest and the accompaniment between the instruments, and a lot of imitation between the parts, especially in the dynamic and athletic last movement. Some of the most difficult moments for the oboe are when he is playing the accompaniment to Jonathan Ware's piano. Stankiewicz really excels in this with an absolutely even and assured fingering technique.

Listen — Mozart: Allegro moderato (Sonata in B flat, K 378)
(track 6, 4:21-5:18) ℗ 2021 Delphian Records Ltd :

This disc will particularly appeal to oboe players looking for new repertoire and there is a great deal to commend it. The partnership between the two artists is exemplary, and one could not ask for more. The transcriptions for the oboe have produced many challenges that would be the undoing of us mere mortals, but the performances here are astounding. I am green with envy.

Copyright © 17 May 2021 Geoff Pearce,
Sydney, Australia







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