Hydra (oboe trio)


Oboe trio–12′

A tour de force for oboe trio. The mythical hydra takes sonic form: when one voice is cut off, another grows in its place.

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Hydra (oboe trio)

Premiere—1985, by the Montana Double Reed Trio, at the IDRS Convention, Boulder, CO.
Duration: 12′

Program Note

Hydra takes its name from the mythical many-headed monster encountered by Heracles; when one head was lopped off, two more grew in its place. This image suggested a continuously regenerating structure of instruments falling away and later “growing back” as new voices, with new material. Thus, Hydra, a tour de force for oboe trio, consists of a series of trios, solos and duos, combining the three instruments in all possible ways.

The work falls into three large segments, fast-slow-fast, each dividing into four sub-sections. Extended techniques are prominent, including double trills, bent tones and multiphonics. The players read from score.

Hydra was written for the Montana Double Reed Trio: Cynthia Green and Ken Decker, oboes; Roger MacDonald, English horn. It was a fine ensemble, but as far as I know it played exactly three concerts, one of which was the premiere of this work at the 1985 International Double Reed Society Convention in Boulder, Co.

David Evan Thomas has been honored with two McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships, an Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Born in Rochester, New York in 1958, Thomas studied at Northwestern University, Eastman School of Music, and with Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota. His music is published by ECS, MorningStar, Augsburg Fortress and several other publishers. Thomas lives in Minneapolis.

Thomas’s other pieces for oboe include a Quartet for Oboe and Strings: Peregrine Tones, a Sonata for Oboe and Guitar and a Concerto, but Hydra is definitely the wildest of the bunch.



Additional information

Dimensions 11 × 14 in


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