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Monday, October 24, 2016

James Ostryniec /Contemporary Oboe Three Aspects: Gunther Schuller "Sonata Oboe & Piano, Faye-Ellen Silverman "Oboe-Sthenics" Solo Oboe & Vladiir Ussachevsky "Pentagram" Oboe & Tape (Finnadar Records, 1982)

It is consistently an adventure when one wanders in the 20th century classical music section of a record store.  For the past three or four months, I have been fascinated with early electronic music, and this is the third album I have purchased with regards to Vladmir Ussachevsky.   The co-founder, and for twenty years or so, the director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center.  I think of him as sort of the pre-Eno - the fact that he works with real instruments, but alters their sound and pitch by using a tape machine.   The other two composers here are a total mystery to me, but it's nice to see that a female composer here is represented, Faye-Ellen Silverman, who was a student of Ussachevsky.   The oldest piece of music here is Sonata for Oboe & Piano by Gunther Schuller.

The principal subject matter for this specific album is the Oboe, played by James Ostryniec.  To me, the only oboe player I know is Andy MacKay from Roxy Music - but alas, there are others out there - and they seem to be interested in 20th century composition.  This is a gorgeous album, and the oboe sound is one that is very lonely sounding.  Like one who craves the sound of surf guitar, I imagine that there are those out there who obsessed over the sound of the oboe.   Also I want to credit Rüstem Batum for the cool image of an oboe attached to magnetic/recording tape on the front cover.  The 20th century seemed so promising in the early 1980s.