Oboe Concerto in D Major

By Richard Strauss

Strauss composed his elegant oboe concerto in exile in Switzerland shortly after the end of World War II.

A far cry from Strauss’ lush late romantic tone poems, the concerto harks back to the classicism of Mozart. Its themes are harmonically lucid and charming. The work is sparely scored for soloist and chamber orchestra (strings, woodwinds and horns).

The first movement is based on a recurring four-note motif in the strings, followed immediately by the soaring oboe melody and extensive thematic and harmonic development. The second movement, which follows without a break, includes an extended oboe cadenza accompanied in part by the orchestra. The sprightly third movement starts off with intertwined melodies involving the solo oboe, flute and clarinet. After a short cadenza, the main theme is transformed into a sweeping 6/8 closing Allegro.

Many of the motifs played by soloist and orchestra involve leaps and jumps reminiscent of other famous Strauss tone poems.