Oboe & Piano
Pavel Haas - Leoš Janáček - Hans Gál - Klement Slavický

Oboe & Piano

Viola Wilmsen & Kimiko Imani

Label: CAvi
Format: CD
Barcode: 4260085533862
Catalog number: AVI 8553386
Releasedate: 04-08-17

- Viola Wilmsen is a very highly qualified oboe player playing with famous world class orchestras like Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic and many great opera orchestras

- Unknown and rare works for Oboe and Piano of the first Half of 20th century

- A rare portrait CD for the Oboe and the young German artist Viola Wilmsen


What types of musical character do we associate with the oboe? We imagine long, lyrical phrases, mournful, fragile melodies, agile musicianship, and a folk-like character. During my time as principal oboist in the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, it felt as if I died “a thousand deaths” every evening until the main character on stage had finally breathed his/her last sigh and the sobbing oboe had sung its plaintive melody to the end. On the other hand, have you ever heard an oboe sonority that is fierce, conquering or threatening?

The 20th century produced a number for works for oboe and piano in which the woodwind instrument adopts an almost “furious” character. In this program we would like to demonstrate the oboe’s variety of tone colour and great versatility. Our basic idea is centered on the oboe as a “singing voice”, with its tremendous ability to phrase long cantilenas: hence, this program is closely associated with the human voice. We have selected three works originally written for oboe, along with two brief vocal works we have arranged for the instrument. Unpretentious works from the youth of a composer such as Martinů stand alongside dramatic late works such as Pavel Haas’s Suite, which he originally conceived for voice but later arranged for oboe. Here we combine the original sources of inspiration –Moravian folk songs – with a series of works heavily influenced by Moravian folk music: the Suites by Pavel Haas and Klement Slavický, as well as Leoš Janáček’s opera Jenufa.

Oboists are increasingly performing Klement Slavický’s Suite in view of its many qualities: a series of technical challenges, a pastoral, quasi-improvised first movement, and attractive bravura passages in the Scherzo as well as in the fourth movement.……….. With the exception of Leoš Janá ˇ cek, all the composers on this CD were of Jewish faith, and shared the bitter experience of having been forced to flee their homeland or at least to give up their profession. Perhaps in times such as ours, when nationalism and racism are on the rise, these musicians’ destinies can inspire serious reflection and serve as a warning to us all.© 2017 Viola Wilmsen (liner notes)
Viola Wilmsen has been principal oboist of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO) since 2012, prior to which she held the same position for three years in the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. She is much in demand as a soloist and chamber musician worldwide. She has performed solo oboe concertos with the DSO (under Kent Nagano), with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Camerata Bern, the Hamburg Camerata, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra (Japan) and the Haydn Orchestra (Italy). Furthermore, she has made solo appearances in venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Berlin Konzerthaus and a great number of international festivals. Her chamber music sextet Berlin Counterpoint released its first CD in 2014 to wide critical acclaim; the ensemble has also received the Usedom Music Prize. In 2014 as well, (Ms) Viola Wilmsen was a cowinner of the coveted German Echo Klassik award as a member of the Berolina Ensemble.

As solo oboist, guest appearances have led her to concertize with orchestras such as the Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, the Bamberg Symphony and the orchestras of the Berlin and Munich state operas. She has collaborated with renowned conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta and Andris Nelsons. Viola Wilmsen studied oboe with Diethelm Jonas in Lübeck, Dominik Wollenweber in Berlin, and Jacques Tys in Paris. In 2009 she won the International Sony Oboe Competition in Japan. In the event’s 30-year history, she was the first woman and the first German to win First Prize. She won further First Prizes at various competitions in Germany, Italy and Poland, and also as both oboist and pianist in the UK. Viola Wilmsen has held a teaching post for oboe at Lübeck Musikhochschule since 2015. She teaches masterclasses in Germany and abroad, and is often called upon to be a jury member at international competitions.

Born in Japan, pianist Kimiko Imani made her successful début as soloist with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Suntory Hall. She continued to make a great number of appearances with orchestras in Japan and Germany while studying in Detmold toward a concert exam diploma under the tutelage of Prof. Anatol Ugorski. Awarded with the Prize of the Society for the Advancement of Culture in Westphalia (GWK), Kimiko Imani
is a highly dedicated chamber musician. She is invited on a regular basis to perform at international festivals and concert series in Europe and Asia (including the Tokyo Spring, SONY Music Foundation, the Palau in Barcelona, and the Francis Poulenc Whitsun Music Festival in Berry, France).
Kimiko Imani’s musical partners include eminent musicians such as bassoonist Sergio Azzolini and oboist Maurice Bourgue. Together, they formed the Maurice Bourgue Trio in 2011, an outstanding ensemble that has performed at important international classical music venues and has just recorded its first CD.

Imani has made further chamber music recordings for GWK Records and Deutschlandradio. She also pursues an artistic collaboration with violinist Keiko Urushihara. Imani’s profound knowledge of oboe repertoire has led her to perform with world class soloists including Albrecht Mayer, Emanuel Abbühl, Jonathan Kelly, Lucas Macías Navarro and Ivan Podyomov leading to engagements at oboe competitions and masterclasses of worldwide recognition including the Musicale de Villecroze and the Slokar International Academy. She currently teaches at Berlin University of the Arts and the Hanns Eisler University of Music in Berlin.