Bach loved to write for oboe and strings. All three oboes (oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn) blend beautifully with strings, but can also separate themselves in timbre and articulation.  I particularly enjoy playing in unison with strings, and that is what you will hear in the opening movement of BWV 133.  The instrumentation in this chorus is unusual, however, in that the two oboes d’amore are playing with the second violins and viola, allowing for an especially rich texture in the middle voices.

Bach wrote for oboe d’amore, the alto oboe, as much as he wrote for oboe. He would compose for oboe, d’amore or English horn depending on the timbre of the piece, but also depending on the key.  The d’amore and English horn are transposing instruments, so a piece that is not in a great key for the oboe (Getrost! es faßt ein heil'ger Leib) works well on the d’amore.

Playing the Christmas Eve service at Emmanuel has always been special for the musicians.  One year Craig bought 25 white plastic crosses to hang around our necks.  The top part of the cross came off and we could blow soap bubbles with it.  I still have mine!

Peggy Pearson
Oboe, oboe d'amore