Oboe Queen, Concerto King
David J. Friedlander | Columbus, Ohio United States | 05/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sarah Francis is becoming one of the greatest Oboeists of our time. Her athletic and seemless technique is coupled with a great tone or tones I should say...She can play sweetly or with gentle pathos. This makes her a perfect match with Mozart who also could bring sweet music tinged with pathos in his creations. The Mozart Oboe concerto is from the Salzburg days, a time specifically when he was moving away from his childhood and beginning to lay the foundations for his greatest works. The concerto was a "warhorse" for the virtuoso Ramm and he played it throughout his career since it wasn't easily surpassed. Francis handles it flawlessly, almost too easily bringing me to wonder, "how good is this wonderful musician going to get?!"
The Krommer is a high spirited work if perhaps a bit on the predictable side. Still, Francis plays this expertly and gives it plenty of life maybe even more than is inherently there. In other words, does anyone play this better than Francis? If yes, I would like to know about it.
I have to be honest and say my preference would be 4 1/2 stars if that was allowed. Since it isn't, I thought this was closer to a 5 than a 4 so I opted for the stratosphere. If you like Mozart, this is one of a half dozen great performances. The Krommer is a nice fill up, though you are less likely to be humming anything of it later. That would be the Mozart because the Finale is one of those melodies likely to get stuck in your ear.