Here are two “pieces” of music that (at least to me) bear some similarities. Namely, they both make beautiful use of the Dorian mode and an oboe.

First, check out the website music at Portland Studios.

Then go find Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A minor Oboe Concerto. For me, the “sound world” RVW creates is rich with mental images. I picture the landscape and folklore of his home, Great Britain–the same folklore that, interestingly, has occasionally inspired the guys at Portland Studios. When I first heard this, 5 measures in and I was already thinking of misty moors, thatched roofs, stone walls, and elves and Tolkien and Lewis. I don’t want to reduce RVW’s composition to a cute little “meaning;” I’m simply observing that his music’s folk and modal influence combines in a way that to us seems exotic and fascinating and very, very likeable.

I kind of wonder if the guy who wrote Portland’s music was familiar with the RVW concerto. Just wondering. Let me know if you give this a listen–I welcome your thoughts!

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