Classical Piece Starting w Oboe
March 3, 2020 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: They're trying to remember a classical piece they thought may have been Beethoven; it starts with a solo instrument probably oboe, and builds with the addition of other instruments to a great crescendo. That's all I've got. Any guesses?

Thanks in advance!
posted by shocks connery to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Largo from New World Symphony?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:32 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

posted by bonobothegreat at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

The first movement of Beethoven's Fifth contains an oboe cadenza, though it does not open with it.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:49 PM on March 3, 2020

Seconding Bolero. It is a 17min long crescendo.
posted by acidnova at 12:54 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 5 doesn't start with oboe, but it certainly has the other aspects.

Could also perhaps be Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, which also doesn't start with oboe but does start with bassoon in a high register (which could be mistaken for oboe) and certainly comes to quite the climax.

None of these sounds anything like Beethoven, though.
posted by slkinsey at 12:56 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

The first piece that came to mind is not Beethoven, it's Mozart. And in my mind it featured a prominent oboe start. In actuality, the oboe solo begins at 1:05.

Just in case your friend is thinking of Mozart Oboe Concerto (Allegro Aperto)
posted by nathaole at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2020

Bolero opens with snare and flute, though.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2020

OP says their friend thinks it's probably an oboe but that's not a certainty. I still think it might be Bolero.
posted by acidnova at 1:12 PM on March 3, 2020

If they’re not sure it’s an oboe, and not sure it’s Beethoven then it could be anything so I’m going to throw an absolute wild card in and suggest Stravinsky- Berceuse and Finale from the Firebird. It starts with a bassoon in an absurdly high register that could be mistaken for an oboe, and builds to a hell of a finish.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

A bit of a wild guess but I thought of Mozart's Serenade No 10 in B Flat Major. It begins with a french horn, features an oboe, and builds in intensity.
posted by frau_grubach at 2:34 PM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Entirely different direction and guess, and it fulfills none of your requirements other than a building oboe (or clarinet) that's eventually met with the rest of the orchestra, but Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue?
posted by straw at 2:57 PM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding the Gran Partita (another name for the piece linked by frau_grubach). The clarinet solo at the beginning is what I thought of from your description.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:00 PM on March 3, 2020

(Pop culture note: the Mozart serenade mentioned by frau_grubach was (I think) the piece featured in a plot point in the movie Amadeus, so it might be more recognizable in a general sense)
posted by ovvl at 4:10 PM on March 3, 2020

Beethoven 7th Symphony? Not strictly solo, as there are orchestral chord hits and some other harmony, but the woodwinds are leading at the beginning
posted by thelonius at 4:10 PM on March 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Flute? Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun?
posted by cushie at 6:23 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

The first movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony starts with a prominent part in the oboe & clarinet. Schubert could be easily mistaken for Beethoven.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:47 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Almost has to be Ravel's Bolero, though it starts with a flute.
posted by lhauser at 10:13 PM on March 3, 2020

A second vote here for Beethoven's 7th Symphony first movement!

It could also be Schubert's Unfinished Symphony- the opening melody is unison with clarinet and oboe playing together. Which would explain their confusion... starts about 26' in (2nd page of the score).
posted by Coaticass at 11:24 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Or on not previewing, what Johnny Assay said above!
posted by Coaticass at 11:25 PM on March 3, 2020

Brahms: Variations on a theme of Haydn also has an oboetastic opening, it doesn't immediately build to a crescendo though so my money is on Schubert. But just in case..
posted by Coaticass at 11:32 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


This is a silly answer that I deadass believe is correct in more possible worlds than some of the above.
posted by aws17576 at 12:05 AM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]

Gee, just to check, might they be confusing oboe with the clarinet opening / first minute of Rhapsody in Blue?
posted by bartleby at 4:07 AM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

My money is on Bolero based on the description you've provided here, but another well known oboe-forward opening is Grieg's Morning Mood from Peer Gynt Suite. There's some crescendo and layering of instruments in the middle, but it ends more gently.
posted by somanyamys at 6:59 AM on March 4, 2020

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