Oboe Concerto in D Major, Op. 144
In this oboe masterclass, Céline Moinet underlines the relationship between soloist and orchestra. Moinet begins her instruction by telling Ho Ting Tsui to carefully listen to the accompaniment. This is echoed throughout the class as she advises her student to avoid rushing the notes in order to secure a dialog between soloist and orchestra. Maintaining a stable tempo, as the master puts it, is imperative. In addition, the oboe teacher specifies that playing vivace is not about playing fast but about playing with character and humor. It is meant to be played as if it is ‘full of life.’ Even with vivace, the master indicates, it is important to keep a solid tempo and avoid rushing the notes.
Other crucial elements that are discussed in this session include breathing, and more specifically, how to breathe in order to save air and energy, as well as when to breathe in order to achieve a high level of expression. The goal is to tell a story, which is accomplished by being expressive, changing color, and adding contrast.
Maintaining a stable tempo.
Cultivating dialog between solo and accompaniment.
Playing expressively and with contrast.
Following themes in the repertoire as they are written.
In 1945, Richard Strauss was apprehended by American soldiers in his home. After explaining that he was a composer and musician, a sign stating “off limits” was placed in front of his house. Among the American soldiers was John de Lancie, who would later become First Oboist for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He asked the composer if he would consider composing a concerto for the oboe, to which Strauss refused, but reconsidered the proposition at a later date. A year later, the concert premiered in Zürich, Switzerland with Marcel Saillet as soloist, accompanied by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, and conducted by Volkmar Andreae.
The concerto was written for an oboe soloist with an orchestra consisting of two flutes, an English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, and strings. It has three movements which include I. Allegro moderato; II. Adante; and III. Vivace Allegro. Furthermore, this oeuvre is made up of three main themes. The first theme is four sixteenth notes (Ré, Mi, Ré, Mi). The second theme is characterized by a long note followed by sixteenth notes. Lastly, the third theme is a sequence of short notes then long, followed by differing continuations. After the second cadenza, Strauss concludes the piece with a surprise by inserting a playful Allegro in 6/8 meter, which almost playfully emerges as a fourth movement with a unique personality of its own.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this oboe masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Céline Moinet’s feedback and comments.
In 2006 she won first prizes for oboe and chamber music in the classes of David Walter and Maurice Bourgue.
Born in Lille in 1984, Céline Moinet studied the oboe and chamber music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in classes led by David Walter and Maurice Bourgue.
In 2006, she was awarded a Premier Prix in both disciplines. She also studied the Baroque oboe with Marcel Ponseele and Xenia Löffler. In 2004 and 2005, she completed her orchestral training as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under the direction of Claudio Abbado.
After this experience, she was invited to appear as guest principal with leading German orchestras such as the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the SWR Radiosinfonieorchester Stuttgart, the Philharmoniker Hamburg, and the orchestra of the Frankfurt Opera. In 2006, she was appointed principal oboe of the Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim. Since June 2008, she has occupied the same position with the celebrated Staatskapelle Dresden. In the autumn of 2011, she was invited by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to appear on an extended tour of Asia and Australia.
Céline Moinet performs regularly in solo and chamber repertoire. She has performed all the major oboe concertos with the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Prague Philharmonia, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Kammerorchester Basel, and the Dresdner Kapellsoliste. Via an invitation by Fabio Luisi, she has given recitals and taught masterclasses at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
Céline Moinet plays an oboe by Marigaux Paris.
Richard Strauss was a German pianist, composer, and conductor born in Germany in 1864. His father was a professional musician, and Richard himself started taking piano lessons at the age of four. This was followed by composition and the violin classes starting from the age of eleven. While studying, he saw two productions of Wagner’s operas that made a significant impression on him. After graduating from the Ludwigsgymnasium in 1882, Strauss briefly studied art history and philosophy. Vocationally, however, he would continue to work in the musical milieu. Firstly, by becoming the assistant conductor at the Meiningen Court Orchestra. Later, he was appointed as the interim-leader of the orchestra when his boss and mentor Hans von Bülow suddenly quit his position. This brief period of Strauss’s musical life was marked by a true fascination with composer Johannes Brahms. A few years after meeting and marrying the love of his life, soprano Pauline de Ahna, he composed his first opera, Guntram, in 1894. It was not well received, but pushed him towards the forefront of the musical scene. When his first symphonic poem Don Juan premiered, it received great acclaim.
In 1894, after the Guntram debacle, he conducted Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Pauline singing the lead role of Elizabeth. He then assumed the role of lead conductor at the Berlin State Opera and stayed there for 15 years. WWII proved to be exceedingly difficult for Strauss and his family, especially when part of his daughter-in-law's family was deported and murdered, even though he had tried to intervene to prevent the tragedy. He was not popular with Nazi officials, but was left alone because of Nazi Germany’s interest in supporting German composers and musicians. The aftermath of the war was not a prosperous one: like most Germans, Strauss’s assets and money were seized, and he left the country to settle in Switzerland with Pauline. Even though he was over 80, he had to continue working as he needed income to live. In 1948, he was hospitalized due to a bladder infection, and he never fully recovered. Soon after, he died from a heart attack and kidney failure.
Despite Richard Strauss’ difficult final years marked by distress and financial instability, he managed to leave a great legacy behind. He has undeniably influenced many 20th musicians and composers. His most celebrated works include his operas Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, his Lieder, especially his Last Four Songs, his symphonic poems including Sprach Zarathustra, Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, An Alpine Symphony, and many other instrumental works.