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Christian Frederik Barth


Who, nowadays, has heard of Christian Frederik Barth (1787–1861)? He came from a dynasty of oboists and was perhaps one of the most important. In V.C. Ravn’s article Concerts and Musical Societies in former Times (1886) Barth’s music is given the following laudatory mention: ‘Chr. Barth’s compositions for the oboe did, however, gain widespread dissemination abroad, where on several occasions he went on musical journeys and, at the young age of 18, commanded attention for his pure, delicate and beautiful tone, his great proficiency and assurance and his tasteful performance that displayed both nobility of spirit and feeling.’ Or, as expressed in German periodicals from 1804: ‘An oboe concerto in modo di scena cantate, with which, on one of his later journeys, he somewhat boldly challenged comparison with Spohr’s famous piece [Violin Concerto No. 8 in A minor, op. 47, 1846] is said to have caused a sensation.’ That, though, is hardly the oboe concerto featured on this release. Barth is also mentioned as a composer of ‘several overtures from 1810–29’.

The other oboist players of the Barth family were Christian Samuel (1735–1809), who was also a court violinist and in Det Holstenske Selskab (The Holstein Society) organized benefit concerts with Christian Frederik and his second son Philip (1774–1804). The family line also boasted a female singer, Amalie Frederikke Vilhelmine.