Luca de la Florin: Dialogues with an oboe

Reading Time: 2 minutes Luca de la Florin shared outer and inner dialogues through his professional oboe playing at UVU on January 22. Faculty recitals are a great time to learn more about music and specific instruments.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Luca de la Florin, a freelance performer and long-time faculty member of UVU, performed in his faculty recital on January 22. His focus is on the oboe and French horn. He was accompanied by Melissa Livengood on the piano for all his songs, and Sally Humphreys played the flute for a duet.  

De la Florin started the recital very casually, talking to the audience as if it were a class he was teaching. He opened this didactic moment by saying his recital focused on dialogues. The screen behind him on the corner of the stage listed two separate dialogues—outer dialogues and inner dialogues. The recital was divided into two sections, with two pieces for outer dialogues and two pieces for inner dialogues. During his teaching moment, he encouraged Livengood to come up and discuss the role of the piano in this dialogue. 

His first piece was a concertino by Gaetano Donizetti. A concertino is typically made up of the main instrument and a piano or other background instrument. It is considerably shorter than a concerto. The first moments of the concertino were just the piano, which appeared to have a dialogue with itself before the oboe joined in.  

De la Florin embraced how fun the French horn can be throughout this piece as he bounced along in his bright purple sequined jacket. The piece contained beautiful moments of dialogue between the piano and the French horn but also had solo moments for each of them. It is a bit uncommon to give so much emphasis to the background instrument as this concertino did, which made it a very engaging piece. 

De la Florin then took another break, where he introduced Humphreys. They talked about the roles of the flute and French horn in larger groups. The flute often carries the melody, but in lower-level bands, there are often no oboes, and the second flute fills that space. The composer of their duet was very good at embracing the different but similar voices in his piece. This piece was meant to convey the famous Shakespeare dialogue between Romeo and Juliet when Juliet stood on the balcony. As de la Florin and Humphreys played, one could almost hear de la Florin’s oboe utter the words “I love you.” 

After a short intermission, de la Florin walked out alone, wearing a white blazer. He bowed, Livengood joined him on stage, and he broke into song on his French horn. He began playing “The Swan,” a very popular French horn piece written by Camille Saint-Seans as part of his “The Carnival of the Animals.” With this slow and solo-heavy piece, the audience was moved to the second part of dialogue—inner dialogue. 

He then introduced the last piece, a more modern one, written by Alyssa Morris. This piece, “Chrysalis,” had three movements and told the story of the butterfly. De la Florin called the caterpillar a “silly little creature,” and the first movement, meant to represent the caterpillar, was a fun-sounding movement. 

The second movement was a slower piece, in a minor key, focused on introspection, where the caterpillar emerged as a butterfly. De la Florin and Livengood broke into a rendition of “All Creatures of Our God and King,” a popular hymn from the 1500s. Along with the hymn was the caterpillar’s theme, a beautiful reminder that the butterfly was the same individual as the caterpillar. 

The applause was loud and exuberant as he ended the final note of “Chrysalis.” Luca de la Florin certainly met his goal of sharing dialogues, as he made dialogue between instruments as well as viewer and player.