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Léon Goossens | Great Goossens

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Francois Leleux Han de Vries Nicholas Daniel

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Classical: Concerto Classical: Chamber Music Moods: Type: Compilations
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Great Goossens

by Léon Goossens

New transcriptions of classic recordings by Léon Goossens, perhaps the best-known oboist of all time.
Genre: Classical: Concerto
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cimarosa: Concerto for Oboe & Strings - I
2:26 album only
2. Cimarosa: Concerto for Oboe & Strings - II
2:06 album only
3. Cimarosa: Concerto for Oboe & Strings - III
3:19 album only
4. Cimarosa: Concerto for Oboe & Strings - IV
2:44 album only
5. Bach: Sinfonia from the Easter Oratorio
4:44 album only
6. Senaillé: Cotillon
2:08 album only
7. Pierné: Aubade
2:30 album only
8. Traditional: Irish Song
3:29 album only
9. Templeton: Scherzo Caprice
1:49 album only
10. Eugene Goossens: Concerto in One Movement
12:19 album only
11. Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
3:01 album only
12. MacMahon: Oboe Concerto - III
3:14 album only
13. Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto - I
7:59 album only
14. Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto - II
7:47 album only
15. Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto - III
6:57 album only


Album Notes
These are deservedly 'classic' recordings - the delightful Cimarosa Concerto, the hauntingly beautiful Sinfonia from Bach's Easter Oratorio, and engaging recital pieces by Pierné, Templeton and others.

Less well-known is the dramatic Concerto by Léon's brother Eugene, with its exotic harmonies and orchestration; and a recording of Richard Strauss' celebrated Concerto made just months after it was written, and before the published version.

In the booklet, label owner Jeremy Polmear interviews international oboe soloist Nicholas Daniel about Goossens, his art and his influence. Here is the beginning of that interview:

JP: Listening to these performances from the middle of the 20th Century with our 21st Century ears, what aspects of this playing do you see as ‘historical’ – of their time – and what aspects are for all time?

ND: I think that to an extent since the Goossens period we have been sonically Karajan-ized in Europe. Sir Simon Rattle recently described him as "the Emperor of legato" which is both a compliment and an implied criticism!
By that I mean the thicker, rather heavier sound that we used to hear a lot, particularly in Germany, twenty years ago (things have changed a little now) has become a rather misguided benchmark for performers and listeners because it is voluptuous and easy to listen to.

JP: If it sounds good, what’s wrong with that?

ND: It is too often lacking in colour and the ability to lighten the sound and articulation. Students also try to make it in the wrong way, with heavier equipment that makes the problems worse and leads sometimes even to physical problems, as does the sharper pitch that Karajan introduced. In the aesthetic of Goossens’ sheer beauty of sound – where every harmonic has duty paid to it, we hear another story all together. He uses reeds and an instrument that allow incredible flexibility and lightness and a pianissimo that I have always tried to emulate in my own playing. His is an effortless soprano voice...

The recordings date from 1943 to 1961. There are also interviews with the transcribers, and many photographs, some of which have not been available before. This album came out in 2015, and here is what the reviewers said:

"Great Goossens, it's called - quite right too!" Andrew McGregor, BBC Record Review

"I cannot praise this CD highly enough. It is a great retrospective of one of the finest oboists of the twentieth century. The programme is well-balanced between serious and lighter pieces. The re-mastering of the original records has made it a pleasure to recapture Goossens’ style and masterly technique." John France, MusicWeb International

"The recordings on this disc are truly legendary... the result is artistry of incomparable quality, well transferred on this well-filled CD." Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion

"Not all oboe playing - even good oboe playing - moves me, perhaps because I know how it is done. But Goossens on this album does move me, because I can always feel real human expression behind everything he does.

"Mixing orchestral pieces with smaller works for oboe and piano wouldn’t work in a contemporary album, but it does here - the smaller pieces seem to be a distillation of Goossens’ art. Some of the music is almost children’s music, but it is always played with honesty. If you look at photos of Goossens he looks very masculine, but in these shorter pieces he emphasises his sensitive side." Han de Vries, Double Reed News (UK)



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