Semi-automatic, 3rd octave key, double F key, wood - outfit
David Cowley, Principal Oboe, BBC National Orchestra of Wales on the Orfeo oboe:
"The latest addition to Buffet Crampon’s range of oboes is “Orfeo”, their new top of the range model. Designed to complement rather than replace the “Prestige” model, which is available in both Greenline and traditional wood, the Orfeo is only made in Greenline - the composite material created by Buffet Crampon. This has many advantages over traditional wood with regard to stability and consistency of the material, notably the greatly reduced risk of cracking, without compromising tonal quality."
The most obvious visual feature of the “Orfeo” is the distinctive styling of the top joint. Eschewing the traditional, the joint tapers inwards from the enon in a continuous curve which widens slightly around the reed socket. This graceful effect is further enhanced by the use of black metal rings around all the joints so that, although the oboe comes in the usual three sections, once assembled it gives the impression of being one piece.
The keywork is very similar to that of the “Prestige” with some minor changes, notably to the cluster keys, designed to improve facility. Buffet Crampon have also made some modifications to the bore.
I found the transition from the “Prestige” to the “Orfeo” very easy, despite the modifications, and I was able to play it straightaway in the orchestra, using my customary reeds. The instrument is well in tune and feels very smooth and even to play. It has a sweet, focussed sound with a particularly rich second octave. The first octave is very stable and the third octave, the key positioned to the left on the thumb-plate model, speaks easily. The low notes are secure and easy to play quietly. The bottom C# does not suffer from the flatness which is a common problem on many oboes.
I have long been an advocate for Greenline – the instruments sound great and withstand the vagaries of a professional musician’s working life so much better than traditional wood. The “Orfeo” is a distinctive and competitively priced instrument worthy of any serious oboist’s attention."
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