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Grammy-Winner Alex Klein Plays Sonatas That ‘Define the Modern Oboe’ on New Cedille Album

April 13, 2019 | By Nat Silverman
Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Grammy-winner Alex Klein, former principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, plays works that he says “define the modern oboe,” plus some other personal favorites, on Twentieth Century Oboe Sonatas, released April 12, 2019, on Cedille Records.

One of the world’s best-known oboists, Klein says he waited to acquire a professional lifetime’s worth of experience before putting his stamp on three French sonatas that herald the oboe’s 20th-century reemergence as a brilliant solo instrument: Camille Saint-Saëns’ jovial, late-Romantic Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Op. 166; Henri Dutilleux’s emotionally wide-ranging Sonata for Oboe and Piano; and Francis Poulenc’s late, philosophical Sonata for Oboe and Piano, FP 185.
Klein and pianist Phillip Bush also perform French composer Eugène Bozza’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano, an ethereal, rarely heard tour de force; English composer York Bowen’s lushly beautiful Sonata for Oboe and Pianoforte, Op. 85; and Czech composer Petr Eben’s youthful, inventive Oboe Sonata, Op. 1 (Cedille Records CDR 90000 186).

“This project comprises some of the most important oboe compositions ever written,” Klein says, “particularly, the Saint-Saëns, Poulenc, and perhaps the Dutilleux. It would have been premature for me to record them at an earlier point in  my career. This is something I’ve wanted to do all my life.”

In an interview for Cedille Records, the oboe virtuoso candidly addresses the daunting challenges of the Dutilleux and Poulenc sonatas, which he characterizes as “impossible to play, if we are to follow exactly what the composers wrote. The requirements for the instrument cannot truly be reproduced; you have to innovate.”

Recording Team
Twentieth Century Oboe Sonatas was recorded by Grammy-nominated producer James Ginsburg and multiple Grammy-nominated engineer Bill Maylone May 7, 9, 11, 25, 28, and 29, 2018, in the Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio at WFMT radio, Chicago, Illinois.

Alex Klein, oboe
Klein won a Grammy Award in 2002 for Best Instrumental Solo Performance (with Orchestra) for his recording of Richard Strauss’s oboe concerto with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Teldec).

Klein served as the CSO’s principal oboe from 1995 to 2004 and was later given "Emeritus" status by music director Riccardo Muti.

Chicago Magazine wrote that Klein possesses a “tone so unique and beautiful that musicians from around the globe would flock to [Chicago’s] Symphony Center to hear him play.”
Klein has appeared on eight previous albums for Cedille Records. This new recording marks Klein’s first new, full-length program as featured soloist since his 2004 Cedille release Twentieth Century Oboe Concertos, on which bestowed its highest rating, calling the album “a model of sensitive artistry, enterprising repertoire selection, and superlative engineering. It just doesn’t get any better.”

Gramophone’s review of Klein’s Cedille-reissued album of Vivaldi Oboe Concertos proclaimed, “it’s possible to listen to this recording repeatedly and rarely take your ears away from Klein, who dispenses melodies with musical charm and technical requirements with effortless grace.”

Phillip Bush, piano
A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Leon Fleisher, Phillip Bush launched his career upon winning the American Pianists Association Fellowship Award and his subsequent New York recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Applauded as "a pianist of exceptional, cherishable finesse" (Los Angeles Times), Bush has appeared as a recitalist throughout North America as well as in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. His discography includes the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Aaron Berofsk and the Brahms viola sonatas with David Harding.

Cedille Records
Launched in November 1989, Grammy Award-winning Cedille Records (pronounced say-DEE) is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the most noteworthy classical artists in and from the Chicago area. The audiophile-oriented label releases every new album in multiple formats: physical CD; 96 kHz, 24-bit, studio-quality FLAC download; and 320 Kbps MP3 download.

An independent nonprofit enterprise, Cedille Records is the label of Cedille Chicago, NFP. Sales of physical CDs and digital downloads and streams cover only a small percentage of the label’s costs. Tax-deductible donations from individual music-lovers and grants from charitable organizations account for most of its revenue.

Headquarters are at 1205 W. Balmoral Ave., Chicago, IL 60640; call (773) 989-2515; email: Website:
Cedille Records is distributed in the Western Hemisphere by Naxos of America and its distribution partners, by Select Music in the U.K., and by other independent distributors in the Naxos network in classical music markets around the world. 




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