Lebrun Oboe Concertos

Lebrun Oboe Concertos

97009 (Brilliant Classics, CD)

REISSUE (1 January 2024)

Playing time: 73'16"
Tracks: 12
Booklet pages: 5
℗ 2003 Cala Records Ltd
© 2024 Brilliant Classics, licensed from Signum Records
Main country of recording: Czech Republic
Country of manufacture: European Union
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Lebrun Oboe Concertos published on 11 April 2024

Nancy Ambrose King, oboe
Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Jeremy Swerling, conductor

Ludwig August Lebrun (1752-1790):

Oboe Concertos

Concerto in G minor André No 2
1 Allegro
2 Adagio
3 Rondo

Concerto in F Sieber No 7
4 Allegro
5 Adagio
6 Rondo

Concerto in F Sieber No 3
7 Allegro
8 Adagio
9 Rondo

Concerto in D minor André No 1
10 Allegro
11 Grazioso
12 Rondo

Classical-era oboe concertos, full of flourish and elegantly turned melodies in polished and critically praised recordings from 2000-2002. Ludwig August Lebrun (1752-1790) was an oboist by training, and the son of an oboist at the Mannheim court, Alexander Lebrun. Ludwig evidently wrote these concertos, and another ten in the same vein, in order to showcase his own abilities on an instrument which was evolving rapidly in terms of technical innovation (projecting further, with more reliable tone) and thus allowing for greater virtuosity on behalf of both composers and performers. There are four concertos here, and they all adhere to the standard three-movement form and belong to the idiom of the Mannheim school exemplified by the likes of Franz Danzi (1763-1826) (whose daughter Lebrun married) and Cannabich. There are delicate melodies as well as spectacular virtuosity in music filled with imagination, humour and depth, not to mention the occasional unexpected turn of phrase. These are not miniature or insignificant pieces. The opening G minor piece is developed with the kind of pathos we associate with the key in the hands of Mozart, and after two F major concertos, the album concludes with a poignant and stern D minor concerto, punctuated by trumpet and drums, and enclosing a noble Grazioso slow movement where the oboe sings like an abandoned operatic heroine.

Recorded 4 September 2000 and 4-6 January 2002 at Vitkove Dum Kulture, Ostrava, Czech Republic.