Leon Goossens   (Oboe Classics 2005)
Item# W0005
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Leon Goossens   (Oboe Classics 2005)
W0005. LEON GOOSSENS, w.Clarence Raybould & Gerald Moore (Pfs.) & Süsskind Cond. Philharmonia Orch.: Marcello, Scarlatti, Fiocco, Fauré, Pierné, Barthe, Saint-Saëns, Thomé, van Phillips & Colin; w.International Quartet: Oboe Quintet (Bax). (England) Oboe Classics 2005, recorded 1920-47. Final sealed copy. - 5023581200527


“Leon Goossens was one of the two most influential oboe virtuosos of the twentieth century, the other being Marcel Tabuteau, the celebrated first oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Goossens was born in Liverpool, England, in June 1897, into a family of musicians; his father and brother (both named Eugene) were famous conductors, while his two sisters became prominent harpists. Leon's first musical training was on the piano. He took up the oboe under the tutelage of Charles Reynolds at the age of eight. He began to make professional appearances just two years later at ten. Between 1911 and 1914, he was a student in William Malsch's class at London's Royal College of Music and won the position of solo oboe of Sir Henry Wood's famous Queen's Hall Orchestra soon after his 17th birthday.

Though wounded whilst on active service during World War I, Goossens resumed his orchestral post, but transferred to the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1924. His autobiography describes how he often supervised the orchestra's rehearsals when Sir Thomas Beecham arrived late. 1924 also saw the commencement of his academic career, with his appointment as professor of oboe at the Royal College (1924 - 1939) and also at the Royal Academy of Music, at which he remained until only 1935.

Leon Goossens was principal oboist of the Royal Philharmonic Society Orchestra, also becoming first oboe of the London Philharmonic upon its foundation in 1932. By now, he was also internationally famous as a soloist, having undertaken many solo engagements in Europe and the U.S. His exceptional musical gifts and astounding technique also encouraged leading British composers to write new works for him. Arnold Bax,Sir Arthur Bliss, Benjamin Britten, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams (whose oboe concerto is probably the finest work written for Goossens) were just a few among the many who produced works especially for him.

Goossens received the CBE in 1950. In June 1962, an automobile accident resulted in serious injuries to his face, teeth, and lips, though after a long recovery period and with colossal determination and persistence, he regained his technique. By 1966, Goossens had resumed his concert career, his former powers practically undiminished. He continued to give lecture recitals and master classes, and remained active as a performer until well into his eighties. Leon Goossens died in London in February 1988. His principal contribution to the oboe was to sweeten its sound, bringing new expressivity and brilliance, which helped elevate the oboe's stature as a solo instrument. He is regarded as the founder of the new English school of oboe playing. Remarkably, he used only one instrument, a Loree thumb-plate system oboe made in 1907, for the entire duration of his career. His playing style and technical innovations are related in a book, simply entitled OBOE, written in collaboration with his student Edwin Roxburgh in 1977.”

- Michael Jameson, allmusic.com