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Oboe Quintet 'Into the ravine'


In recent years the Carducci Quartet has built a close relationship with world-class oboist Nicholas Daniel resulting in this new commission from Michael Berkeley for an oboe quintet. It is a work very much influenced by paintings and in particular the works of John Craxton and Mark Rothko and, to quote Michael Berkeley: ‘the way in which paint can vibrate as colours collide.’ The subtitle ‘Into the ravine’ was inspired by a painting by John Craxton which was given to Michael’s father Lennox in 1962, in return for a new oboe sonatina for Janet Craxton (who was also Nicholas Daniel’s teacher). The Quintet, ‘Into the ravine’, was co-commissioned by the 2012 Presteigne Festival and, as an In Memoriam to John Craxton, by Richard Riley. This part of the commission recapitulated the Lennox arrangement when Michael was presented with a portrait that John had drawn of him in 1975.

This enigmatic and deeply personal work, often quietly elegiac, becomes hauntingly intense as it progresses. It opens with the oboe intoning three notes around which all the music oscillates. At pivotal moments in the music this lachrymose motif imposes itself though in varied permutations. In the final bars the oboe has a seagull-like cry until, as though a switch is pulled, its life force is suddenly cut off.

from notes by Signum Classics © 2013


Berkeley (M), McCabe & Williams: String Quartets & Oboe Quintet
Studio Master: SIGCD350Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD350 track 1

Recording date
8 June 2013
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Summertown, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Matthew Dilley
Recording engineer
Richard Bland
Hyperion usage
  1. Berkeley (M), McCabe & Williams: String Quartets & Oboe Quintet (SIGCD350)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: December 2013
    Download only
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