by Jarrett Hoffman
Having served in the U.S. army during World War II, oboist John de Lancie had the opportunity to meet Richard Strauss at his home in a Bavarian resort town following the war. He asked the composer if he had ever thought about writing an oboe concerto — Strauss said that he hadn’t.
And then, suddenly, the composer had. His Oboe Concerto would be premiered just months later in Zürich. And what a concerto it was — and is. As Cleveland Orchestra principal oboe Frank Rosenwein (above) told me during a recent phone call, “it stands at the pinnacle of oboe writing in terms of its beauty, but also its difficulty.”
Rosenwein will play the Strauss Concerto with CityMusic Cleveland and principal guest conductor Stefan Willich in five free performances this week. As is the orchestra’s custom, the concerts will jump from venue to venue each day from Wednesday, December 12 through Sunday, December 16 (details below).