Little Concert


oboe and small orchestra
Solo Instruments with Orchestra
2 hns - strings

Commissioned by the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square for their 21st Anniversary with funds from the Greater London Arts

First Performance
28.5.88, Wymondham Abbey, Norwich: Melinda Maxwell/Orchestra of St John's Smith Square/John Lubbock

Score 0-571-51100-7 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Nicholas Maw Little Concert For oboe accompanied by strings and two horns This work, a kind of concert aria (konzertstück might be a better description) for oboe, was completed in 1988. It was written to celebrate the twenty first anniversary of the Orchestra of St. John’s, and as a tribute to the playing of Melinda Maxwell. The musical language employed represents an intermittent preoccupation of mine to write a piece somewhat light in ‘specific gravity’ and tone, but that does not really fall into the category of light music. Previous works of mine in this genre include the Serenade for small orchestra of 1977 and the orchestral piece Spring Music of 1982, as well as much of the music in my two operas, One-Man Show (1964) and The Rising of the Moon (1970). A common characteristic of all these works is a concentration on line – the presentation and development of melody, the acceptance of the primacy of song – as opposed to textural elaboration, developmental forms, and the like. To my mind these works also have another important characteristic: they presuppose my own musical language as a background resource from which can be extracted the necessarily lighter, airier musical syntax needed here. This particular piece is laid out for very modest forces, and in a very straightforward manner. It consists of a slow opening movement that is entirely lyrical and episodic, followed by a fast movement of rondo type rounded off by a coda marked vivace assai. The two movements are linked by a Recitativo in the middle of the work. Little Concert was commissioned by the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square for their 21st Anniversary with funds from the Greater London Arts. Nicholas Maw

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News & Reviews

Nicholas Maw remembered…..

More than two decades since its premiere, Nicholas Maw’s Little Concert is still impressing audiences with its expressive melodies and poetic harmonies. Read more

'Little Concert' reviews

'…beneath the graceful long lines and jig - like spurts of a solo part expressly written for Melinda Maxwell, Maw finds time and space enough to draw quite long - range implications from his basic motif of a semitone plus a major third, and to insert some of his special, densely poetic harmonies.' The Independent (Bayan Northcott), 6 June 1988 Read more

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