This oboe quartet written for oboe and string trio was
written in 2001 by the American composer Elliott Carter who was in his 90s
at the time. It was composed
for the oboist Heinz Holliger and comprises six
duets that combine the oboe and the three other string instruments
involved, i.e. the violin, viola and cello.
The piece which lasts approximately quarter of an hour
has been described as “busy”, “imaginative” and
“ever-evolving” by one source, “fluid” and
“rhythmically varied” by another and “exciting” by
yet another. Whatever way, it
has obviously caught the interest of the listener.
received its world premiere at Mattheuskirche in
Lucerne in November 2001 where it was performed by Heinz Holliger, the violinist Thomas Zehetmair,
the violist Ruth Killius and the cellist Thomas Demenga.
However it has been described, the work won itself a
2004 Grammy nomination for “Best Chamber Music Performance” on
the premiere recording The Music of
Elliott Carter, Volume 5 by the contemporary chamber ensemble Speculum Musicae.
The oboe solo is performed by the ensemble member Stephen Taylor.
It has also appeared on Heinz Holliger’s
Double CD box set Lauds and
Lamentations: Music of Elliott Carter and Isang Yun and the celebration recording in honour of
Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday Happy Birthday, Elliott Carter: New Chamber Works performed by
the Swiss Chamber Soloists.