For: concerto for oboe and chamber orchestra
March 4-5, 2017
Ryan Roberts, oboe
Albany Symphony/David Alan Miller
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Troy, New York
Recording: by Ryan Roberts and the Albany Symphony Orchestra, found on the album called, Sky
But I was gobsmacked by the lyrical gifts Torke brings to “South,” a concerto for oboe featuring soloist Ryan Roberts. I am not generally prone to hyperbole, and while a sensitive person, I rarely react emotionally to music upon first listen. But reader, I tell you that as I drove around one late-summer afternoon, I actually teared up listening to the first two movements of this work. The melodies flow beautifully in this brief (only eleven minutes long) work, with the oboe delicately backed by the sounds of harp and wistful orchestral smiles that finally burst into joy. —Nathan Cone, Texas Public Radio
Brevity focused me to be concise. Though rhythm and orchestration were always on my mind, it was melodic development that I thought about most—the ways that melodies and themes open up and combine with themselves. West, for the bassoon, reminds me of the western coast of the U.S., especially in Oregon. South, for the oboe, reminds me of feelings I’ve had in the south of France. East, for the clarinet, reminds me of morning with a hopeful, fresh sun rising in the eastern sky. Where is North, some might ask? It is waiting to be commissioned.
I have always loved what woodwind instruments can do, both expressively and technically. I feel somewhat more at home in this medium, having played bassoon growing up, and sitting in the woodwind section of Music for Youth, Milwaukee’s youth orchestra at that time.