One of the principle works of Norwegian orchestral repertoire is Ludvig Irgens-Jensens ‘Passacaglia’, which won a prize at the international Schubert competition in 1928.

Irgens-Jensen’s works follow the Passacaglia structure, with variations over a solid bass in three-parts, but they are interrupted by a fuge and are framed by an introduction and coda. Despite its strict structure, the work is very expressive, and is written in a personally colored senromantic tonal language. The work gained great international recognition – Pauline Hall called the striking piece “A shining feather in the hat for Norwegian music”.

Richard Strauss’s obo concert was written after a request by an American soldier, right after WWII when the composer was 81 years old. The concert is a highlight of the repertoire and is notorious for its high level of difficulty for the soloist. The ability to use circular breathing is a requirement: a technique for squeezing air from the oral cavity while breathing through the nose. And one will truly come to understand why the technique is required, as the soloist has very long phrases and plays almost constantly. The three movements are played without a break.

Brahms composed his third symphony during a stay in Wiesbaden in the summer of 1883. His richter, who directed the Vienna Philharmonic, recognized it as Brahms’ ‘Eroica’. It is Brahms’s shortest symphony and is thus more compressed than the previous ones. The dramatic opening pace with its large-scale ambiguity sets the tone for the entire work.

Christian Vasquez, conductor
Alexei Ogrintchouk, oboe

Irgens-Jensen: Passacaglia
Strauss: Concert for Oboe and Orchestra
Brahms: Symphony No. 3