Concerto, Op. 45, by Eugene Goossens
British oboist Léon Goossens (1897-1988) is credited with reestablishing the oboe as a solo instrument and elevating its status after it fell out of favor in the nineteenth century. Romantic composers preferred the facility and tone of the flute and clarinet to the unwieldy oboe, leading to a scarcity of quality literature of solo literature beginning in the mid eighteenth century. Goossens, admired for his technique, tone, and expressive use of vibrato, led a resurgence of the oboe’s popularity.
Despite a traumatic car accident in the height of his career that damaged his teeth and embouchure, Goossens recovered his ability to perform and regained his international solo performance career. He actively sought out new compositions and recorded most of the major repertoire for the oboe. Many major British composers wrote new works for him, including Vaughan-Williams, Jacob, Bax, Bowen, Bliss, and Britten.
One of the lesser-known pieces written for Léon Goossens is the Concerto, Op. 45 (1927) composed by his brother Eugène Goossens. Originally intended for Léon’s 1928 American debut, the single movement concerto was performed by the venerated oboist numerous times in both its original version with piano accompaniment and the orchestrated version. This challenging work evokes the pastoral style with sweeping melodic lines, a variety of articulation styles, and virtuosic flourishes above the thundering piano in the cadenza. Written to show off his brother’s dazzling skills, the Concerto, Op. 45 is a worthy contribution to the oboe repertoire and a fitting tribute to the musicianship of Léon Goossens.
Recording Date: September 8, 2007
Recording Location: University of Maryland
Ensemble Type: Piano and Oboe
Performers: Heather Baldwin Killmeyer, oboe, Matthew Bachman, piano
About the Music
Composer: Eugene Goossens
Instrumentation: Oboe and Piano
Date Composed: 1927
Date First Performed: January, 1929
Concerto, Opus 45
Heather Baldwin Killmeyer serves as Assistant Professor of Double Reeds at East Tennessee State University. An active artist-clinician, Dr. Killmeyer has taught clinics and master classes in California, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Her orchestral experience includes the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, Ballet Silicon Valley, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Reno Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the contemporary group Nimbus Ensemble. She has performed at International Double Reed Society conference in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Provo, Uath, Norman, Oklahoma, and Redlands, California and presented at College Music Society conferences in Knoxville, Tennessee and Missoula, Montana.
Dr. Killmeyer's research interests include performance studies and cultivating new audiences through creative programming in non-traditional venues. She is the oboist and artistic director of Dada Cabaret, an experimental chamber ensemble blending eclectic contemporary art music with spoken narrative and elements of theatre. Dr. Killmeyer has participated in numerous commissions and premieres of new works for oboe, and is the recent recipient of a major research grant to commission a new work by composer Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin.
Dr. Killmeyer received her degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (B.M.), the University of Nevada Las Vegas (M.M.) and the University of Southern California (D.M.A.).