Charles “Chip” Hamann is thrilled to present Canadian Scenes, his second solo record with pianist Frédéric Lacroix and their first record with Leaf Music. Recorded over four days at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts in Kingston, ON, Canadian Scenes is comprised of five works commissioned works between 2009 and 2022 and features a broad array of compositional flavours and styles. Intent on creating new repertoire for oboe and piano, Hamann recruited some of his favourite composers to provide pieces for Canadian Scenes, whose contributions helped the record become a sweeping sketch of Canadian compositional talent and identity.
Hamann encouraged his composers to draw on Canada’s natural landscapes for inspiration as they began writing their pieces. Harnessing their unique connections to nature and filtering it through the Canadian lens has produced five works that are at once deeply personal and nationally collective. The works featured on this album also reverberate differently when listened to in a post-Covid world. Themes of isolation, loneliness, and grief are heard seeping through the lines.
Speaking on what “Canadian Scenes” represents to Hamann as an artist, he says, “I am thrilled to present five incredible new oboe pieces inspired by Canada and nature. Each work reflects the challenges of life during the time of the Covid pandemic filtered through five vibrant and unique compositional voices. These works are destined to enrich the canon of oboe recital repertoire and reflect a moment when solo and small chamber works took on outsize importance for all musicians.”
“Having approached each composer myself to create a new work over the span of a few years, my wish is that these new pieces will resonate broadly, and eventually be featured in concerts, recitals, and competitions in Canada and abroad—the classics of tomorrow. I hope listeners will be emotionally touched by the music and think about their relationships to nature, art, and life in Canada in the 21stCentury.”
Heralded for the “exquisite liquid quality” of his solo playing (Gramophone), Charles “Chip” Hamann was appointed to the principal oboe chair of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1993 at the age of 22. Mr. Hamann has also served as guest principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Quebec’s Les Violons du Roy.
Mr. Hamann’s solo debut album, the double CD collection Canadian Works for Oboe and Piano with pianist Frédéric Lacroix, was released in 2017 on the Centrediscs label and his playing was lauded for “well-rounded tone, sensitive phrasing and…breathtaking sustained tones” (The Whole Note) and “exquisite musicianship.”(The Double Reed) He and Mr. Lacroix have presented solo recitals across Canada and the United States and both teach at the University of Ottawa School of Music, where they have collaborated closely together with the oboe studio for many years. Mr. Hamann has commissioned numerous solo works from leading Canadian composers and continues to champion new repertoire.
With the NAC Wind Quintet, Charles Hamann’s performances of music for wind instruments by Camille Saint-Saëns with pianist Stéphane Lemelin for the Naxos label, including the op. 166 Oboe Sonata, won Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award in 2011. Mr. Hamann was also featured in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for violin and oboe BWV 1060 with Pinchas Zukerman on NACO’s 2016 Baroque Treasury album for Analekta that earned him praise as a “superb colleague” (Gramophone) and for “a gorgeous, expressive sound.” (Ludwig van Toronto)
Charles Hamann has appeared as concerto soloist with Les Violons du Roy, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska, the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra, and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings. He has appeared many times with NACO, both in Ottawa and on tour, in major concertos including Bach, Mozart, Strauss, and Vaughan-Williams.
Charles Hamann ~ Canadian Scenes
Release Date: June 9, 2023
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