The oboe d'amore is a mezzo-soprano oboe in A, sounding a minor third lower than the normal C oboe. It was highly popular in Germany from about 1710 until the 1730's; during this period composers such as Telemann, Graun, Heinichen, and J.S. Bach featured its soft, plangent sound in concerti, chamber music, and sacred works. Today it is most often heard playing the well-known obligato arias in Bach's mass in B-minor, Magnificat in D, Christmas Oratorio, and St. Matthew Passion, as well as in many of his church and secular cantatas.
More than twenty oboes d'amore were made by Johann Heinrich Eichentopf (1678-1769), perhaps the most prominent wind-instrument builder working in Leipzig during Bach's tenure there. My version is built in collaboration with Stephen Hammer, and is derived from an excellent example of his work that is in the collection of the Musikinstrumenten-Museum, Berlin. It is scaled slightly longer than the original, to play easily at A=415, and features a full, rich sound and excellent scale and response. Oboes d'amore are supplied with a brass bocal and two reeds.