for oboe and orchestra

Composition Date: 2012
Revision Date: 2018
Duration: 00:25:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Oboe(s) / Eng. Horn(s)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 3 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 3 x Percussion
  • 1 x Harp
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Oboe ( Solo )
  • 1 x Full orchestra
Programme Note:
The Concerto for Oboe is quite an expansive piece considering the canon of solo repertoire for the oboe. This piece was composed specifically for Roger Cole (principal oboist of the Vancouver Symphony), who was, in fact, my first oboe teacher back when I was in high school and throughout university. There is no programme to this piece per se. There are, however, many ideas in this piece (I suppose snippets of my musical "voice") that I have been searching for an opportunity to develop, namely, the use of rapidly changing asymmetric metres and melodic ideas, as well as the imposition of symmetric ideas on top of the asymmetric elements. This imposition of metric ideas can be particularly heard in the second movement, where a very bittersweet and lyrical melody (that is in 4/4 time) is imposed onto the asymmetric metre and accompanying ideas which are in 7/8 time. I've also always had a fascination with aleatoric music, and in particular the juxtaposition of aleatoric passages against metric ideas. You'll here these elements scattered lightly here and there throughout the work, mainly as a way of creating nebulous momentum (as these passages rely heavily on dividing the string section, they create very delicate and colourful textures) beneath the soloist.Other ideas I wanted to explore were polytonal juxtapositions (which can be heard mostly in the first and third movement), and chromatic writing (which gives the third movement a more florid, virtuosic sound).The concerto beings with a heraldic, polytonal fanfare-like figure, which is introduced by the orchestra, and then taken and developed by the soloist. This figure, which is based on fourths, is manipulated throughout the movement both melodically, and as a basis for the subsequent harmonic content. The “B” theme contrasts the “A” theme in that it is much more lyrical, yet slightly unsettled through the use of chromatic twists in the melody. The main theme returns near the end, played by the full orchestra in almost a menacing manner before the movement closes quietly with the solo restating the “A” theme.The second movement is very lyrical and nebulous in nature. Again there is use of quartal harmony throughout, and the movement is also in an asymmetric metre (7/8). This asymmetry is juxtaposed with the solo oboe’s very lyrical and haunting melody that is in symmetric metre of 4/4, causing a cycling of the melody over the harmonic progression, which pushes the two apart, while at the same time creating new harmonic development through this displacement of one idea across the boundaries of the other.The last movement is highly virtuosic for both the solo and orchestra. Aleatoric ideas in the strings create an unsettled mood on top of which the soloist performs a rather chromatic, fiery, and highly intervallic “A” theme. The metre in this movement is often changing which further enhances the restless nature of the movement. The “A” theme is developed throughout the movement in many incarnations. The “B” theme is a smoother, more fluid melodic idea, which is often developed through short canons, or in counterpoint with the “A” theme. Asymmetric ostinati drive this movement forward at breakneck speeds, which all builds to a highly dissonant yet grand orchestral statement. The soloist further develops all of the themes in the cadenza which leads to a recapitulation and eventual final drive forward to the virtuosic finale of the work.My ultimate goal was to bring the above noted ideas together into a homogenous sound that serves to provide the solo oboe with a vast, dramatic backdrop. The orchestration is rather large for a concerto for a solo wind instrument, but much of the drama of the piece comes through the dialogue that is setup between the soloist and orchestra. Virtuosic passages are often tossed back and forth between the two, and there are numerous times when the orchestra is brought to the forefront to develop the soloist’s material in a much grander and dynamic way. There are also many elements of personality in this piece; the oboe is capable of such a range of colour and emotion, from playful, to the lyrical and haunting, to dark and aggressive. On an emotional level, my goal for this work was to create a piece that incorporated these qualities in order to give the performer a wide breadth of emotional range.

Premiere Information:
21 Feb 2015, Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver, B.C.
Roger Cole, Oboe; Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra; Jin Zhang, Conductor.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1322 N641ob
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Oboe(s) / Eng. Horn(s)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • December 8, 2014
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • Score (i,110 p)
    111 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Width: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 1
    Piano Reduction: 73 Pages
    Piano reduction
    73 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
    Oboe Solo Part
    22 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • This piece has three movements:
    1. Movement I
    2. Movement II
    3. Movement III

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Concerto for Oboe : Solo Parts
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Concerto for Oboe : Score
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Concerto for oboe and orchestra: Piano Reduction
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Concerto for Oboe by Christopher Tyler Nickel (Piano Reduction)
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Concerto for Oboe by Christopher Tyler Nickel (Score and Solo Part)
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