Oboe Passion - Oostenrijk, Oostenrij, ter Linden

Oboe Passion - Oostenrijk, Oostenrij, ter Linden

Challenge Classics  CC 72506 (2 discs)

Stereo Hybrid


J.S. Bach: Arias for Soprano and Oboe, Concerto in A for Oboe d'amore, Strings and Continuo, J.C. Bach: Concerto in F for Oboe and Orchestra, C.P.E. Bach: Concerto in E flat for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord W 165

Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano)
Pauline Oostenrijk (oboe)
Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Jaap ter Linden (conductor)

A double-cd with in the leading roles two sisters: Pauline and Nienke Oostenrijk. Pauline plays on both cd's: one with Arias for Soprano and Oboe and one with Oboe Concertos. But there is another leading role except the ones of the soprano and the oboe: composer Johann SeBastian Bach! And last but not least also two of his most famous sons can be heard: Johann Christian and Carl Philipp Emanuel.

About the Arias, Pauline Oostenrijk writes in the liner notes: "from a Christian viewpoint – the cantatas were after all written for performance during church services – every conceivable human emotion is portrayed, translated into music. Exuberant joy, deep mourning, love, sadness. The texts of the arias on this CD bear witness to a profound religious devotion, but even if the texts themselves do not stir you, the masterful way they are set to music is stunning. The arias are without equal, not only in the range of moods and emotions they express, but also in the themes and motifs that Bach selects in giving musical form to words and ideas. The ultimate meeting of text and music. The ultimate meeting of the human voice and oboe, which sometimes seem to melt into each other.

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the paid links below.
As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.

Add to your wish list | library


3 of 3 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Reviews (1)

Review by John Miller - January 30, 2013

This double SA-CD from Challenge Classics appears to be a celebration of the art of Netherlands oboist Pauline Oosternrijk (and her soprano sister, Nienke). The two discs of the 'Oboe Passion' set were re-mastered to SA-CD from RBCDs recorded in June/July 1998 (CD1), release date 2003 and February 1999, release date 2001 (CD2). Pauline continues to record for Challenge Classics (Vivaldi: Oboe Concertos - Oostenrijk, de Vriend) and Northwest Classics (Telemann: Works for Oboe - Oostenrijk). 'Oboe Passion' is something of a Retrospect, therefore, as confirmed by Pauline's anecdotal insert notes, relaying some details of how her career involvement with sister Nienke developed.

Disc 1 consists of thirteen arias from the cantatas of J.S. Bach in which the voice dialogues with an oboe, oboe di caccia or oboe d'amore, with accompaniments provided by members of the renowned Amsterdam Sinfonietta, under the direction of Jaap ter Linden. While these pieces are played on modern instruments, ter Linden is a veteran of Baroque music played on period instruments, and imparts HIP values to the Sinfonietta players. Violins, viola, flutes and either a small organ or harpsichord continuo follow the current historical evidence of one-to-a-part for most of Bach's cantatas.

Nienke Oosternrijk's lovely pure, shining voice, almost like a boy-chorister at times, is ideal for these arias, which range through a gamut of emotions. Pauline's oboe duetting melds perfectly with her sister's singing line; empathy in action. Jaap ter Linden's tempi and rhythms are all about the Dance in faster arias, and in the slower, grief-laden arias the music flows eloquently, never dragging. Perhaps some listeners might think that so many soprano arias at once might be a bit too much, but I found that the order of playing was well-thought out, bringing out contrasts in textures, expression and performance type. The use of Bach's intended oboe hybrids (di caccia with its darker lower notes, and the noble warmth of d'amore) adds greatly to the effect. It goes without saying that this music of Bach's highest quality. Listen to Track 11, Der Seele ruht Jesu Händen; a pair of recorders and strings play a rhythmic staccato accompaniment to the carolling oboe and voice - beautiful indeed. In Track 4, from the Christmas Oratorio, there is a second soprano voice (Margaret Stok) as the Echo from the rear of the church - not a post-production effect as some reviewers have assumed.

Disc 2 has an interesting trio of concertos from the major members of the Bach family, underpinned by a somewhat larger Amsterdam Sinfonietta. J.S. Bach's concerto for strings and oboe d'amore, BWV 1055R is considered to be the original form of the keyboard concerto which has come down to us, and it is often played as a reconstruction, not a difficult transcription. No notice is given in the notes as to who prepared the reconstruction. These concertos have been in Pauline's repertoire for many years, and as she implies in her notes, they unfailingly enchant her. JSB's tuneful concerto is beautifully executed, relishing the rich tone of the oboe d'amore (which is close to the cor anglais). J.C. Bach's Concerto in F for oboe (or flute) and orchestra is a fine example of his galant style, which supplanted that of his father, with its outer movements sunny and full of tuneful caperings. C.P.E. Bach's Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord WQ 165 follows Christian's more individual style: zesty, full of contrast, with a sweetly musing slow movement.

Clearly Challenge Classics thought that these two related discs would benefit from an SA-CD upgrade, and so it proves. The original RBCDs were very well done, but in comparions the CD layer sounds thinner and flatter than the stereo-only SA-CD track. The extra depth of tone, enhanced acoustic and timbral detail on instruments is immediately apparent, suggested an elevated bit-rate from the presumably PCM masters. Having resisted the temptation of adding a false reverb for surround channels suggests that the engineering has been done in a purist way, with the result that the sonics of both discs is not greatly different to the DSD of Challenge's recent efforts.

Musically, I'm very pleased that these discs have been re-released, as they deserve a new life in high fidelity. They provide a most enjoyable couple of hours of very fine Bach. Oboists will be attracted, especially for the opportunity to compare the three oboe hybrids from one of the great masters in writing for them. Lovers of Bach's cantata's also have a very handy selection of the soprano-oboe duet cantatas. My only regret is that there are no English translations of the Cantata texts, making it diffcult for non-German speakers to enjoy Bach's and Nienke's word painting. Otherwise, it would be hard to be disappointed with a purchase of this set.

Copyright © 2013 John Miller and



stars stars