OBOE QUARTETS: 1970–2020
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Over the last fifty years, the oboe quartet genre has continued to grow. The repertoire has garnered a great variety of works ranging in form and style from dance suites, to programmatic storytelling, to twelve-tone works. This dissertation explores works for oboe quartet composed between 1970 and 2020 with the aim of showcasing the breadth of literature, while highlighting some of the more important and underperformed works. A brief history of the genre from the early classical through mid-twentieth century explores the ensemble’s development and lists many prominent works within the oboe quartet idiom. This is followed by an in-depth discussion of the genre since 1970, including several influential oboists and ensembles. These works are examined in several categories, providing an overview of the scope of the literature. First, works that are based on classical or baroque forms and styles are examined. Following this is a discussion of several works that are based on variations. Next, works that are based on dances are discussed. Following that, pieces that can be described as single-movement atonal works will be examined. Several programmatic works or pieces that evoke a specific image are then detailed. This is followed by a discussion of several works that utilize extended techniques. Finally, works that utilize English horn with string trio are covered. Appendices include a full repertoire list, suggestions of works for various levels, personal top picks, publication information for detailed works, commercially available recordings of detailed works, and a list of other works by composers detailed featuring the oboe.