The Herald, 14 December 2006
What a sweet and enticing oblivion it was that oboist Nicholas Daniel and pianist/composer Huw Watkins evoked on Tuesday afternoon at their BBC Radio 3 Reed Between the Lines concert. Daniel, one of Britain’s leading oboists, appeared affable and relaxed during a performance that took in Schumann, Nielsen, Britten and Mozart, as well as a composition by Watkins. Entitled Two Romances, this two-movement work was built around some frantic exchanges between piano and oboe, with the latter making use of a striking major-tenth interval. The second of the movements was an introspective and intelligent work in which sudden melancholy phrases exposed the oboe’s true lyrical potential.
Daniel excels in transforming the timbre of each note as it sounds, and this was particularly clear in his unaccompanied rendition of Britten’s Six Metamorphoses After Ovid. His chameleon capabilities allowed him to be at one moment the jovial Pan; the next the tragic Niobe, turned into stone as she mourned the death of her 14 children.