5Against4

Music’s most forward-looking, technically mind-blowing oboist Christopher Redgate has recently released a double album titled Electrified [sic] Oboe , released on Metier . There’s a brace of works from both David Gorton & Christopher Fox; Fox is typically enigmatic, particularly in the curious & unsettling shifting regularity that underpins his work Headlong (for musette & square wave pulses), while Gorton’s Errinerungsspiel is really splendid, establishing a fascinating interplay between the soloist & live electronics; the drama in this latter piece is palpable, & its twists & turns yields more on repeated listenings. Edwin Roxburgh’s “…at the still point of the turning world…” , a piece i first encountered five years ago, continues to resist my attempts to get inside it, although its massive final tutti is as breathtaking as ever; Matthew Wright’s English Landscape Painting , on the other hand, is a superficial but rip-roaringly effective assault on the senses. Two works are performed twice on the album; in the case of Roger Redgate’s Concerto for Improvising Soloist and Two Ensembles , the differences are minimal—but the work is so amazingly exciting that it more than bears repeating—while Michael Young’s oboe_prosthesis , a piece heavily rooted in improvisation, positively benefits from dual interpretations. The first version features rapid figurations that are used to form a texture so dense that it feels impenetrable, & makes for a somewhat defeating listening experience; the second version couldn’t be more different: meditative, searching & rather beautiful. Anyone who’s ever heard Redgate’s playing knows how unbelievable it is, & throughout Electrified Oboe he demonstrates again & again why he’s the most celebrated oboist of our age.

—Simon Cummings