For the third album on her label Artaria, Australian oboist Celia Craig chooses a dynamic and thrilling accompanist in pianist Konstantin Shamray for a program spanning six decades of the 20th century.
Craig named the label after her South Australia-based ensemble which aims to build “brighter and more resilient communities” through the power of music. And there is plenty of power, as well as a great deal of charm, in this new offering of works by Britten, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Poulenc and – a real find – the English composer Edwin York Bowen.
The chemistry between Craig and Shamray is apparent straight away from the opening yearning oboe line and rumbling piano bass trills of Britten’s Temporal Variations , written in 1936, which opens this disc. That connection blossoms through the strutting March – surely Britten’s friend Shostakovich must have loved this! – and on though the following 10 minutes.
Craig’s lyricism and beauty of line is...