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Love, harmony and beauty



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Sound checks were made at Hart's studios prior to the recording sessions at St John's Church, Loughton. 'I decided to use the newest oboe for the album, because I was excited by its sound, taking a lot of risks, adjusting lip pressures to accommodate certain notes in cold winter conditions, which affect the instrument's response. We recorded the remaining tracks the following summer. It is rare having optimum conditions; sure enough the oboe had changed, feeling different in extreme summer heat and however much money you pay for an oboe, it may not just play in tune - you will be adjusting here and there.'

Music that moves Stella profoundly are the two Passions - St John, St Matthew by J S Bach. From St John 'Aria 63 (with cor anglais and flute) Dissolve O my Heart into torrents of weeping. The Highest to Honour, Proclaim to the World and to Heaven thy Affliction, my Jesus is Dead has such pain and sorrow, while in the St Matthew Bach starts early on with a solo oboe obligato then, as the story unfolds, moves to the slightly darker quality of the oboe d'amore, and finally to the lamenting depths of the cor anglais - music to take into your heart; it becomes your duty as a performer to feel and to give to your audience.' Janet Craxton expressed it as integrity and honesty to the composer. Her Mozart Concerto cadenzas were balanced in accordance to the work as a whole. 'I appreciate her teaching more now than I did at the time. She would encourage me to absorb myself in music until I felt I had an understanding of what made the composer tick.

Stella Dickinson. Photo copyright (c) Sheila Burnett

Michael Dobson had a philosophical way of looking at music in the broader context of life, Michael Winfield became "Uncle Michael", teaching me the orchestral repertoire and subtleties of rhythms. John Barnett took me through the opera repertoire, and I learnt a lot about good phrasing. Richard Simpson gave my playing an overhaul, additional finesse and polish, restoring its Englishness by encouraging me to make less tough reeds. When I teach my students, it's not just me teaching them, it's all those who I have been to that I have internalised within my way of thinking.'


Copyright © 30 May 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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