The ECM label released this album to celebrate the 80th birthday of the awe-inspiring oboist Heinz Holliger, who obviously has not lost a step either as a player, or in a capacity for which he is somewhat less known, as a composer. He and György Kurtág were, in fact, both taught by Sándor Veress, and the two freely admit that if you listen to this album, you'll be hard pressed to distinguish between the works of the two composers stylistically. Both pursue organizational principles that are dictated by a structural idea, but are not serial. The pieces on the album are all dialogues of one kind or another, and this presents a good framework through which listeners can approach the music. There is the dialogue between Holliger and Kurtág as composers, and that between Holliger and the various instrumentalists who back him, often in duets in the short pieces that make up the program. More intricate, is the dialogue with nonagenarian, poet Philippe Jaccottet (who makes Kurtág and Holliger seem like youngsters), reading his own micropoems, followed by short Holliger compositions that echo and interpret the poem structurally. This is an unusual procedure which may take a moment to grasp, but once you do, the connections present themselves readily, and you'll be tuned in to much of the rest of the music. Sample these Airs, especially the third one, where the paired oboes reflect the images of duality in the poem. Other dialogues involve events and relationships in the lives of the two principals, and the inevitable dialogue between later and earlier works. A fine birthday tribute to an instrumentalist almost every classical listener has heard at one time or another, but who continues to discover new things.