Nicholas Daniel finds similarities in two different English works for the oboe.
You are the dedicatee of the MacMillan oboe concerto. How did that come about?
Jimmy and I met through the Britten Sinfonia of which I am a founder member and I always loved working with him. We kept gradually getting to know each other there and in other settings, such as when I played some Ustvolskaya conducted by him, about 12 years ago and then I had the chance to play the Strauss Concerto conducted by him. After that occasion, which was for me at least, memorable, the Britten Sinfonia gave Jimmy the chance for a commission for any seating he wanted, and he asked to write a concerto for me, I’m very happy to say.
The MacMillan is quite a virtuoso piece. What is the greatest challenge for a player?
Several things! In the first movement the wonderful flying music he writes for me is repeated in reverse, literally palindromic. This is hugely hard to get into the fingers! Learn it one way and your fingers forget the opposite. With the slow movement it’s so very hard to play the end of it without crying at the beauty...