Building an oboe is a time consuming and meticulous job. When playing, the drilled holes are manually closed by a padding. So there must be a perfect fit between each hole and its padding. The inner side of the wood is to be milled with utmost precision and polished subsequently. This production step is extremely fragile. Except for regular quality control an auditive control is carried out by an oboist. In the case of Buffet Crampon it is done by Eric Speller.
Louise Van Eygen, pupil of Yf Bourry at the Conservatory of Kortrijk, has been playing the oboe since she was eleven years old. She decided on this choice when trying out several instruments after a children’s concert. Louise singled out the oboe because the sound pleased her and she found the reed interesting. She was immediately in love as she could produce sounds on the spot. The oboe will keep accompanying her in the future; if she wants to make it her profession, she doesn’t know yet. But she’s got the talent, that much is clear: she participated at the Concours Bellan in Paris last month, where she won the third prize.
“Re-writing existing music for an oboe instrumentation is difficult and certainly if you do so for a trio”, says Erik Desimpelaere, who has already arranged and composed a lot for Astria Oboe Trio. “You do need to take the lowest note of an oboe into account and in addition to this a trio only interprets three voices.” Erik considers this arrangement work as technical and creative at the same time: with the score at hand he studies possible combinations, problems and solutions and tries out alternatives on the piano. He is particularly proud of the Händel Variaties of Brahms. It ends with a 4-part fugue he has translated into 3 oboe voices. Ma Mère l’Oye of Ravel is another technical highlight: here the conversion was from two pianos to three oboes.
Pupils either choose for oboe willingly, because they are fascinated by the instrument or by coincidence. Quite often they start at the age of seven, playing parts after one year already. The condition is however they exercise 20 to 30 minutes daily. In doing so they learn the correct blowing technique and develop the mouth muscles. Oboe is rarely chosen as an instrument though because it is unknown. Astria Oboe Trio have wanted to do something about this from the outset, amongst other with arrangements.
says Anouk Vandenbussche, who has played the violin since she was four years old, and oboe from the age of eight. The passion for oboe has only become stronger during the past eleven years. There was an oboe in the youth orchestra too, and Anouk wanted to play a wind instrument next to the violin. The choice was obvious; Anouk persues further training. She attends classes at the Conservatory in Kortrijk with Yf Bourry. Anouk wants to become an executive performer in an orchestra, as she likes playing in a team too. This was her contribution at the Concours de Bellan in Parijs earlier this month:
Playing the oboe is not easy. You need to blow with a strong, controlled power through the small opening of the reed in order to produce a fluent sound. During the last few decades new insights relating to the blowing technique (position of the mouth, velocity of the air) have prompted a smoother way of playing. It has become more comfortable and the sound is more fluid. How higher the level of making music, how more heavenly the sound. It is like topsport: you hardly notice the energy of the effort.
The repertoire for oboe is limited, but even more so for a trio. Astria Oboe Trio have intensely worked together with specialists who tailor arrangements. Erik Desimpelaere has played a major role with compositions on the one hand, but also with many arrangements on the other. Also David Bussick has made many transcriptions.
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