Chargement en cours

An error has occurred. Please

Orchestral Tales: the oboe

Paolo Pietropaolo

If you take the most famous solos for a given instrument of the orchestra, you’ll find a vivid character emerges — a character with a magical story to tell. That’s the idea behind Orchestral Tales, Season 3 of the award-winning Signature Series.

To hear the oboe’s tale, click on the Soundcloud play button below. Follow along with the pop-up comments to find out what composition is playing, or scroll down for a complete list.

Read more about the oboe’s characteristics below.


Orchestral section:


Patron instrument of:

Bookworms, inventors, aspiring poets.

Oboe-like fictional characters:

- Bastian Balthazar Bux from The Neverending Story.
- Lt.-Cmdr. Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

1 oboe clip to watch before you die:

Sometimes you don’t need bells and whistles or other gimmicks. Good lighting and spotless playing’ll do the trick. This is heavenly:

3 immortal oboe moments in pop culture:

1. Jeremy Irons’ character in The Mission engages in oboe colonialism, which somehow works:

2. The oboe solos in “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal.

3. Lt.-Cmdr. Data plays the oboe in the Star Trek: the Next Generation episode “In Theory.”

1 reason to play the oboe:

Everybody else in the orchestra has to be in tune with you.

Famous oboists you should know about:

- William Herschel, astronomer, discoverer of the planet Uranus.
- Lady Evelyn Barbirolli.
- Georg Philipp Telemann, composer.
- Karl Jenkins, composer.
- Andy Mackay of Roxy Music.
- Michael Kamen, Hollywood composer.
- Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor.
- Heinz Holliger.

Pieces heard in The Oboe’s Tale (in order of first appearance):

- Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde, sixth movement
- Sibelius: Symphony No. 2, first movement
- Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
- Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, first movement
- Ravel: Prelude from Le Tombeau de Couperin
- Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, second movement
- Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
- Dvořák: Symphony No. 9, first movement
- Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, third movement
- Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde, second movement
- Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, first movement
- Alessandro Marcello: Oboe Concerto, second movement
- Bizet: Symphony in C, second movement
- Morricone: “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the soundtrack to The Mission

Meet all of the instruments.