A Refusal to Mourn

For Oboe and Strings
(2000) 12 minutes
Solo Instrument(s): Oboe
Orchestration: str(

A Refusal to Mourn was commissioned by the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra with funds from the RVW Trust and premiered at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, with soloist Emma Fielding, conducted by Nicholas Daniel in November 2000. 

Programme note

A Refusal to Mourn (commissioned as a homage to J.S. Bach on the 250th anniversary of his death) uses Lutheran Chorales as its inspiration: in the Recitative first movement, the notes from Ich lass dich nicht (I Shall Not Leave Thee) are piled on top of each other to create a chord sequence in the string orchestra which accompanies a rhapsodic oboe melody that is a freer interpretation of the chorale. The second Fugato movement is based on a motivic cell based on the pitches of Christus, der ist mein Leben (Christ is my life) and is a moto-perpetuo that ranges in mood from the barbaric to the slushily lyrical (the long romantic melody in oboe, solo violin and solo ‘cello being a retrograde and retrograde inversion of the aforementioned motivic cell). The third movement, a Chorale, uses the melody of Christus, der is mein Leben in almost unaltered form and functions as a kind of reconciliatory coda, the oboe and strings being united after the first Recitative movement where the oboe had been very much a solitary figure against the homogenous body of strings. 

A Refusal to Mourn was recorded for Cheryl’s third Champs Hill Record Disc in September 2015, with soloist Nicholas Daniel, Conductor Paul Hoskins and the Rambert Orchestra. The score was revised in 2015 for the recording and is presented in this new edition.

© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2015


"...the delightful and haunting concerto A Refusal to Mourn for oboe and strings, which Frances-Hoad originally composed as an undergraduate at Cambridge. Though she has since revised it, her early compositional maturity is again glaringly apparent here. Again Bach inspired, while the actual notes of various Lutheran chorales form the cells on which the work is based, the finished article is unmistakeably Frances-Hoad’s own creation and in three brief movements weaves its inexorable way towards a perfectly judged elegiac close."

Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International

"A Refusal to Mourn, alternately elegiac and sardonic, a miniature oboe concerto in all but name; here the source material is drawn from Lutheran chorales."

Records International


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