Review by Meghan Woodard Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
From the first vibrant oboe tones on Rosewood Café, Herlehy conveys a sense of child-like joy in her sunny playing, revealing the sophistication of an oboist in her prime. She varies her phrasing, articulation, vibrato, and tone throughout to meet the musical needs of each tune-making her a master of choro. Every track is gem but track two and three (“Nachele Tempo” and “Choro Negro”) are beautifully juxtaposed, revealing the complete range of Herlehy’s artistic ability. The first, featuring the addition of piano, flute, and pandeiro, is a sensual tune, full of musical tension and release made even more impactful by Herlehy’s use of rubato. The jaunty piano chords evoke a blend of musical cultures, calling to mind American ragtime. Herlehy’s articulation on this track is especially varied; at times light and bouncy, then suddenly whispering in the shadows. “Choro Negro”is more introspective, highlighting oboe and piano alone. Like a chameleon, Herlehy adapts her tone (darker and richer here) for this moody tune in the style of a jazz ballad. The oboist becomes a vocalist, serenading outdoor diners on a cloudy day at a corner café in France. She draws us in, as if by a love story, with sultry, long-line phrasing and carefully paced vibrato and rubato.