Programme notes for Cuarteto con Oboe

Jesús Torres (b. 1965) – Cuarteto con Oboe (2009)

Sarah Roper, October, 2019

About Jesús Torres and Cuarteto con Oboe:

The eminent Spanish composer, Jesús Torres, wrote the Cuarteto con Oboe in 2009. The quartet was dedicated to oboist Cayetano Castaño and premiered by Cayetano, Shoko Muraoka, (violin), Josefa María Lafarga (viola) and Dragos Alexandru Balan (cello) in Madrid in 2009. Described by Torres as “aquatic and fluid”, the Cuarteto con Oboe is technically challenging for all players and very exciting to listen to. The composer really pushes the musicians to their limits. The work lasts about 9 minutes and is one whole movement, divided into naturally linked sections which vary in character, colours and tempo.The quartet is in D major, playing around with dissonant harmony. It begins with long notes based around F#, trills and tremolo like string passages, invoking images of bubbly water, which lead on to a more energetic section with running scales for all (luminoso – brumoso).  A beautiful slow section, with no obvious pulse follows (íntimo) and the strings suddenly enter with fast energetic passages (preciso, enérgico). The music continues to move forward as the oboe enters with long, grandiose phrases and the strings play fast, repeated, legato intervals (conmovedor). The waves of tremolo like passages in the strings die down and the oboe is left alone to play a small recit passage (estremecido) where the varied colours and effects experimented by Torres with the oboe can be clearly heard; soft high notes, bisbigliando notes, glissandos, quarter tones and alternating fingerings for the same note. The strings join the oboe in a more relaxed atmosphere. A long passage of very fast arpeggios for all instruments follows, which seduces the listener to imagine the movement of water (impetuoso – tumultuoso). A short section of complete relaxation is heard (meditativo) and the oboe enters alone, repeating a simple motive based around the notes G and F# (mágico). The result is a hypnotic and magical moment before the whole quartet enters with fast running scales in unison, leading into a slow rising scale of repeated staccato demi semi quavers (voluptuoso). The brilliant and even faster section, consisting of written out trills (abrupto, con brio) brings the players and listeners to the works´ final destination (vibrante): two repeated vibrant dissonant chords, based on a penetrating D heard in the oboe and viola voices. The quartet closes in triumph. 

Jesús Torres ( was born in Zaragoza in 1965 and at present lives and works in Madrid. He completed his music studies at the Conservatorio Superior de Madrid and studied musical analysis with Luis de Pablo and later took composition classes with Francisco Guerrero. 

At present (2019) his catalogue of compositions consists of at least 120 works, including seventeen orchestral works, of which five are concertos (for piano, accordion, violin, percussion and clarinet) and chamber music works, scored for various combinations of instruments. He is particularly interested in the musicalization of texts, above all texts taken from the poetry of Vicente Aleixandre.

Torres has won many awards for his music which has been performed throughout the world and recorded by labels such as Naxos, Kairos, Verso, OCNE, IBS Classical and Tritó. He was resident composer of the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical during 2017/2018 and is resident composer of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Zaragoza during the 2019/2020 season. 2019 – 2020, works are to be premiered and performed by the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias and artists such as the clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna and flautist Emmanuel Pahud. 

Two other significant works by Jesús Torres including oboe: 

Torres wrote a Trío for oboe, cello and piano in 2017 (dedicated to and premiered by Cristina Gómez-Godoy (oboe), Pablo Ferrández (violonchelo) y Juan Pérez Floristan (piano) in Madrid in 2018) (Listen to the live recording here:

n 2018 he wrote Silentium Amoris for oboe and piano, which was dedicated to Sarah Roper and premiered by Sarah Roper and Jerry Steichen in 2019 during the 48th International Double Reed Society annual conference Tampa, Florida. This 5 minute work is based on the poem Silentium Amorisby Oscar Wilde.

About the recording by Cuarteto Emispherio: 

Recorded 7th October 2019 (World Première Recording), by Jordi Gil del Valle, Sputnik Recording Studios, Sevilla.

Scores of Cuarteto con Oboe by Jesús Torres can be purchased at Tritó Edicions.

Cuarteto Emispherio

Sarah Roper (oboe), Vladimir Dmtrienco (violin), Jerome Ireland (viola), Gretchen Talbot (cello)

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