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Lennox Berkeley

Publisher: Chester Music

Oboe Quartet (1967)
commissioned by and dedicated to Lady Norton on behalf of the ICA
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
15 Minutes

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Programme Note
Lennox Berkeley Oboe Quartet (1967)
Quartet for oboe and string trio OP 67

This quartet was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts and written in the autumn of 1967. It is dedicated to Lady Norton and is the second of Lennox Berkeley’s three works written with the oboist, the late Janet Craxton, in mind, the other two being his Sonatina OP 61 and Sinfonia Concertante OP 84.

The work begins with a fairly extended introduction, leading without a break into an Allegro. The whole composition is based on the internal of a third (sometime major, sometimes minor), which is heard in the opening phrase of the introduction and again in the main theme of the Allegro, though here in a totally different context. The allegro is in more or less traditional sonata form. The middle movement is a kind of Scherzo, growing out of a rhythmical figure for the strings and a rapid arpeggio (major and minor chords) for the oboe. This is a Presto; a more relaxed middle section, corresponding to the Trio in a classical work, is followed by a much shortened version of the Scherzo. The last movement is brief but very slow, all four instruments taking up in turn a gently rocking figure that moves to and fro between two notes – always a major or minor third apart. The music becomes more animated, but returns to the opening figure and dies away, each instrument dropping out, one after the other, leaving the cello alone in the last bar.

  • Epoch:
  • Ensemble
    Nash Emsemble
  • Ensemble
  • Soloist(s)
    Janet Craxton, oboe; Perry Hart, violin; Brian Hawkins, viola; Kenneth Heath, cello
    Oboe Classics:
  • Ensemble
    The London Oboe Quartet
    Janet Craxton
    Oboe Classics:
  • 16 MAY 2017
    Richmond Concert Society
    Church of St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham
    Britten Oboe Quartet
    Nicholas Daniel, oboe
  • 21 OCT 2012
    Stealing, Borrowing, Remembering
    The Forge, Camden, London
    The Berkeley Ensemble
  • 17 APR 2008
    Palais des Beaux Arts, Terarken, Brussels, Belgium
    Sophie Cajusanschi, violin, Mihoko Kusama, viola, Harm van Rheeden, cello,
  • 03 MAR 2007
    Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
  • 18 NOV 2006
    Music in Lyddington
    St Andrew's Church, Lyddington, UK
    Nicholas Daniel Oboe Quartet
  • 12 MAR 2006
    Lion Walk United Reform Church, Colchester
    Robert Rogers, oboe; Beth Spendlove, violin; Jonathan Hallett, viola; Jeremy Hughes, cello
  • 25 MAY 2002
    Salle Cortot, Paris
    Daniel Arringnon, oboe / Jean-Claude Bouveresse, violin / Serge Soufflard, viola / Katarzyna Ewald, cello / Clara Novakova, flute

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