' His playing on this most diverting anthology offers unbridled pleasure in its impeccable expertise, agile grace, tasteful expression and appealing variety of colour and tone.'
Oboist of the Fibonacci Sequence since its inception in 1994, Christopher O'Neal was a pupil of Terence MacDonagh (a stellar performer in Beecham's RPO) at the RCM before going on to study with Heinz Holliger in Freiburg. He currently serves as principal oboe with the Orchestra of St John's and with the London Mozart Players. In addition to his duties at London's Trinity College of Music, he also helped found the Elysian Wind Quintet and Capricorn chamber ensemble. His playing on this most diverting anthology offers unbridled pleasure in its impeccable expertise, agile grace, tasteful expression and appealing variety of colour and tone. Whether in the theatrical flourishes of Crusell's 1822 Divertimento or the finale of the Mozart, or in his role as very much a team player in the entertainingly skittish, tuneful and tangily characterful offerings by Poulenc and Francaix, O'Neal is not found wanting and he strikes up a consistently infectious rapport with his seasoned Fibonacci colleagues. I'd not previously encountered the winsome miniature Suite for oboe and harp that William Alwyn fashioned for the brother-and-sister duo of Leon and Sidonie Goossens: the manuscript was apparently discovered in the legendary oboist's papers after his death in 1988. O'Neal's own arrangement (for the same instrumental combination) of Elgar's vernally fresh 'Salut d'amour works effectively, too. Boasting realistic sound and balance, this disc makes for delightful late-night listening and earns an easy recommendation.
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone