Programme Note

A Song for Tony (in memory of Anthony Gilbert) for solo oboe is based on some of the ideas from my Oboe Concerto, which I composed in 2019 and which was premiered in 2020 by Jennifer Galloway and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Ben Gernon.

Tony’s personality was perhaps rather complex: on the one hand serious, rational, professing logic and control – on the other, somewhat light-hearted, humorous, but prone to emotional outbursts. In other words a sort of Dionysian v Apollonian sentiment.  The music reflects these opposing facets with three opening dramatic and ’serious’ rhythmic accelerations on a high C sharp, answered by soft and gentle replies. The atonal tension and rhythmic energy at the outset is unsettling, but gradually the soft lyricism expands, leading into a simple diatonic iteration marked Like a gentle Siciliana, which is in the manner of a simple folk-song. The tension of the opening inevitably returns, albeit briefly, before two final gentle ‘farewell’ sighs.


Written: 2024

Solo oboe

Genre: Instrumental


Duration: 5'

First Performance: 13 April 2024
St Elizabeth's Church, Ashley UK
Richard Simpson