Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Aryn Day Sweeney's faculty oboe recital. What an interesting program she had, in which she evoked many different techniques, sounds, and emotions! My favorite piece was called Gobo by composer Russell Pinkston, for oboe and tape. The tape generally played rumbling background sounds, that magically came together with the live oboe in haunting and most excellent ways. Aryn ended the program with a piece by Alyssa Morris, called "Where Do Children Come From?" that explored four different possible realms: The Circus, Outer Space, A Higher Place, and Grace. The piece included excerpts from children's songs, cleverly disguised.
In addition to these works, soprano Yoko Shimazaki-Kilburn joined Aryn and pianist Lori Rhoden for a piece commissioned by Aryn, featuring Native American poetry. Wow! I don't often hear singers in recital, and was really impressed by the breadth of colors Yoko could produce with her voice. The sound of the oboe blended very naturally with Yoko's voice, and the work left me feeling contemplative and somewhat haunted. The program also included an oboe concerto by Benedetto Marcello, and the very cool operatic duet Aryn played with Elizabeth Crawford on her clarinet recital several weeks ago.
I've never been a huge fan of oboe, I must admit, but tonight I found a new respect for the breadth of this instrument's abilities, color-, timbre-, and emotion-wise. It was a stirring journey, from the Baroque to the music of today, and Aryn was the prefect guide.