British composer Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses After Ovid is a piece of program music written for solo Oboe in 1951. The piece was inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses and each of the titular six metamorphoses is based on a character from Roman mythology and includes an inscription summarizing their story. The music for each metamorphosis reflects its character, atmosphere or plot – for example the fifth metamorphosis, Narcissus (‘who fell in love with his own image and became a flower’), is marked lento piacevole, and is meant to convey the act of staring at a reflection in a pool. By virtue of the music being written for a solo instrument Britten allows the performer to be highly expressive, so that the characteristics of each God can be fully represented through the performance.
With a performance time of ca. 13 minutes, this virtuoso solo piece will quickly become a staple in any intermediate to advanced Oboe player’s repertoire.