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The penetrating voice of the oboe has the power to sing out over the orchestra and project its clear, melodic voice. Its rich and moving sound has been the favorite of numerous classical composers and has made it an emblematic staple of any orchestra.
Over the years the oboe has captured the imagination of various composers and been featured in their compositions. The oboe is highlighted in numerous solos and concertos including Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos Nos. One and Two,” and George Frideric Handel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Oboe Concerti and Sonatas.” One of the most memorable pieces of music written for the oboe is Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s Theme to “Swan Lake.” More recent composers like Igor Stravinsky have also written music for the oboe like his “Pastorale.” From its origination in the mid-17th century to today, the oboe has remained a prominent piece of any orchestra.
One of the most influential oboe manufacturers is F. Lorée Paris. Founded in 1881, this firm is the oldest to specialize in oboes. The company has a history of working with prominent musicians to combine musical expertise with technical precision. In the early 20th century, Lucien Lorée worked with a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Georges Gillet, to modernize the oboe. Out of this came such advancements as the Conservatory Plateau System. Over the years, the firm has been passed down among family members and a tight circle of friends and workers. All of the firm’s instruments are entirely manufactured in the factory and then are tested and finished in the head office in Paris. F. Lorée Paris prides itself on Grenadilla wood oboes finished with the French hallmark. One of the finest available, the F. Lorée Paris Royal Oboe, is from a limited series of oboes which were introduced in 2006 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the manufacturer and the 100th anniversary of the Conservatory Plateau System.
Another prominent European oboe manufacturer is Patricola, an Italian company. Francesco, Pieto, and Biagio Patricola founded the firm in 1976 after studying under an artisan who had worked for an instrument factory which was closed during World War II. Patricola prides itself on completing every aspect of manufacture and for using wood that has been seasoned for eleven to thirteen years. Popular models available from The Woodwind and Brasswind include the Patricola Oboe d’Amore Oboe and the Patricola Advanced Oboe for students.
Among American manufacturers, Fox is a highly esteemed brand which specializes in double reed instruments. Hugo Fox began the firm after performing as the principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1922-1949. His company initially grew slowly after it introduced its first bassoon. In 1974 Fox produced its first oboe – the Renard 330. A version of this famous oboe, the Fox Renard Model 333 Protégé Oboe, is available from WWBW.