The Colors Of The Rainboboe: 2017 Edition
When I wrote my original post detailing the many wonders available to us in the world of oboes, three and a half years ago, I never dreamed that it would gain such traction and be read by so many of you around the world (over 25,000 of you last time I looked)! I am truly honored that you’ve taken the time to read it, and I LOVE that I’ve actually been able to help some of you find your dream instrument.
The beautiful, ergonomically redesigned pinky keys of the 2001 (image courtesy of Marigaux)
The 2001 in "Altuglas" with gold plated keys (image courtesy of Marigaux)
Rigoutat model J bell, showing the lovely unstained grenadilla (photo courtesy of Innoledy)
Here we have the lovely and extremely talented Celia Craig demonstrating an INCREDIBLE violetwood Rigoutat with gold keys and left hand C# key for us: https://youtu.be/ssSy_DAGhfM
The MB model, designed in conjunction with French oboist Michel Benet, is one of the finest oboes I have ever tried (an opinion usually shared by others who pick it up), and ever the innovators, they have developed a model called the FX3 which comes with 3 different interchangeable top finials and bell rings for true customization of your sound.
My personal pair of Fossati Solistes that served me well for years
Keywork on the Fossati professional models is plated with a platinum alloy instead of the standard silver, ensuring that your keywork remains tarnish free, and thereby also protecting the base metal for the lifetime of the oboe. Gold-plated rings and posts are standard on most of the models, and you can also get your keys fully gold plated, and/or inlaid with mother of pearl. They even made a model, the Soliste V 20th Anniversary, which features keywork plated in black ruthenium with gold posts/bands. Truly a stunning instrument, and performance to match the appearance.
Fossati "Soliste" model in Gaiac wood with gold plated posts/bands and mother-of-pearl inlaid keys(!!) Note the trill key design on the upper joint, featuring only one hole and a stacked pair of keys (the bottom key has a hole in the middle covered by the top key) instead of the standard two holes; this was done to minimize the risk of cracking in this all-too-crackable spot. Fossati has since returned to the standard design, but I would love them to bring this one back!
The 20th Anniversary model, featuring keywork plated in ruthenium, which has a beautiful mirror-like black finish! (photo courtesy of Fossati)
The authorized US distributor is Gillian McAllister Lopez of River City Reeds, and you can inquire about trials at http://www.rivercityreeds.com
A series of stunning Fossati oboes d'amore in (from L to R) snakewood, pink ivory, grenadilla, and cocobolo. Truly, truly a company of innovation and creativity! (photo courtesy of Pascal Emery at Fossati)
A charming signature feature of the Covey oboes is the beautiful handcrafted wood case they have always been presented in.
Grenadilla Covey in walnut case (Photo courtesy of OboeChicago)
A beautiful rosewood Covey oboe in its signature walnut case! (Photo courtesty of OboeChicago)
The beautiful Moennig 150-AM in its beautiful suspension case. Note the rollers on the right hand pinky cluster! (Photo by me; I had this instrument on trial for a bit when they first came out)
Jeremy Clayton's stunning custom Moennig oboe
The stunning "del Sol" version of the Moennig 155-AM. Photo courtesy of Innoledy, where this instrument is currently available for sale at a fantastic price!
Closeup of the bell, showing the incredible color and grain of the cocobolo, as well as the inserted socket protector, also of cocobolo wood. (As are the end caps for the top and middle joints)
Closeup of the bell, showing the quality of the wood that is used in these instruments!
A very special and visually arresting quartet of Ludwig Frank oboes. The 2 grenadilla ones on the left are "Brilliant" models, instantly recognizable by the bell shape. Herr Frank has quite LITERALLY created a Rainboboe! (Photo courtesy of Kungliga Hovkapellet)
Howarth model S50 (photo courtesy of Richard Craig Woodwind, Australia's exclusive dealer of Howarth instruments)
Here again we have Celia Craig (principal oboist of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, in addition to being a stellar and sought-after soloist and clinician for Howarth) demonstrating this time, the Howarth S50 oboe, as well as a Loree Royal in violetwood and the Howarth S40, the model right beneath the S50 in the Howarth lineup:
Celia Craig tests the Howarth S40 and S50 against a violetwood Loree Royal
Howarth XM bell, image courtesy of Richard Craig Woodwind
Here, we have Celia demonstrating this spectacular new instrument in both grenadilla and cocobolo woods, back to back.
Howarth LXV in Grenadilla and Cocobolo - Celia Craig
The Musa, in a beautiful red leather case
Cases are available to order in special colors; this one is green leather! (photo from NetInstruments, this oboe is for sale!)
The “Opera” model, positioned just below the “Musa” in the pricing hierarchy, is one of the finest oboes you can buy, and it will cost you considerably less than an equivalent instrument from one of the other big makers.
Bulgheroni "Opera" in grenadilla with gold-plated keys
Recently, Bulgheroni has developed a material they are calling "WoodNoWood", which is their entry into the crackproof-wood-substitute market. I've reached out to them for more information, and will update as I receive it!
My own former rosewood/gold Patricola...note the adjustable double bridge arms on the bell for low Bb and Bb resonance (to operate the resonance key for low B as well)
The scale is quite good (and improving every year…Patricola does huge amounts of work to constantly improve their instruments, and they get noticeably better all the time. Mine was an S.6 “Evoluzione” model, and they are several generations ahead of that at this point; the “Rigoletto” is CONSIDERABLY better than the oboe I had, with much better intonation and easier response in the extremes of the range), and it was a very comfortable instrument to play for long periods of time. This is a brand you absolutely MUST try if you wish to buy a handcrafted professional oboe but you are on a somewhat restrictive budget. They also come up used on eBay quite often (or are sold by large retailers via their eBay stores), and they are always quite affordable.
This particular Sayen was made as a prototype of a new ergonomic keywork design!
Buffet is also releasing a new model of professional oboe, called the "Virtuose", at IDRS 2017, so look for an update on that! I will try it as soon as I possibly can for you all! I'm very intrigued to see how this model will differ from the Orfeo.
In Imperial bliss in Tokyo, August 2013!
We meet again! Not one, but TWO Imperials (one wood/gold, one synthetic/silver), at IDRS 2014 in New York.
The standard, basic model 733c. Note the elegant curve of the 2nd octave key and the F roller. Image courtesy of Doublereed Ltd)
733c, this time with gold plated keys! (Image courtesy of Richard Craig Woodwind)
And, the granddaddy of all Puchner oboes, the 733c made in violetwood with the new special bell shape. (Image courtesy of Peter Hurd, the US dealer for Puchner oboes. Contact him for a trial or more information!)
This is a "Pegasus" model, with gold plated keys. As you might have guessed, this oboe produces a very smooth, lush, Baroque-oboe-like sound.
A more basic model, still with gold plated keys.
This is the "LAMI" material, shown in all 5 available colors, in the 20th Anniversary model. (Photo courtesy of Jan Eberle, Josef Oboe - USA. If you're interested in trying one, contact her, she's super nice and the official US importer of these wonderful instruments.)
(Also, I've made every effort to properly cite the sources of photos when appropriate, but please let me know if I've missed something! I want to make sure everyone gets credit for their images! :) )