Oboists are not generally among the ranks of the most prominent instrumental soloists, but this delightful album featuring German player Albrecht Mayer, the principal oboist of the Berlin Philharmonic, makes a strong case for wider solo exposure for the instrument. Bonjour Paris is a survey of (mostly) French music of post-Romantic, Impressionist, and conservative contemporary vintage, and some pieces feature Mayer playing the English horn or the oboe d'amore. Some of the works were originally scored for oboe, such as Françaix's L'Horloge de Flore, d'Indy's Fantaisie sur des themes populaires français, and Swiss composer Gotthard Odermatt's "Été," written for Mayer and imagined as an oboe concerto that Ravel might have written. Other pieces include idiomatic and inventive transcriptions or arrangements of works by Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Fauré, and Hahn. It's an entirely appealing collection that should interest any fan of lush, lyrical French repertoire. It's made even more attractive by the outstanding quality of Mayer's playing. His tone is exceptionally sweet and pure, without any of the reediness that can characterize some oboe sounds. His interpretations, too, are first-rate: subtly inflected, warmly lyrical, and above all, soulfully expressive. Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, led by Mathias Mönius, offers a colorful and sensitive accompaniment. Decca's sound is clean, rich, atmospheric, and nicely balanced.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|L'Horloge de Flore (Flora's Clock)|
|Images (3) for oboe & orchestra, Op. 18|
|Fantaisie sur des thèmes populaires français, Op. 31|