The oboe, including its earlier forms the shawm and the hautboy, is an instrument with a long and rich history. In this book two distinguished oboist-musicologists trace that history from its beginnings to the present time, discussing how and why the oboe evolved, what music was written for it, and which players were prominent.
Geoffrey Burgess and Bruce Haynes begin by describing the oboe’s prehistory and subsequent development out of the shawm in the mid-seventeenth century. They then examine later stages of the instrument, from the classical hautboy to the transition to a keyed oboe and eventually the Conservatoire-system oboe. The authors consider the instrument’s place in Romantic and Modernist music and analyze traditional and avant-garde developments after World War II. Noting the oboe’s appearance in paintings and other iconography, as well as in distinctive musical contexts, they examine what this reveals about the instrument’s social function in different eras. Throughout the book they discuss the great performers, from the pioneers of the seventeenth century to the traveling virtuosi of the eighteenth, the masters of the romantic period and the legends of the twentieth century such as Gillet, Goossens, Tabuteau, and Holliger. With its extensive illustrations, useful technical appendices, and discography, this is a comprehensive and authoritative volume that will be the essential companion for every woodwind student and performer.
Geoffrey Burgess, who has taught historical musicology at Duke University and SUNY, Stony Brook, is an active performing oboist. Bruce Haynes, who is associate professor at the University of Montreal, is a world renowned hautboist.