Casimer Theophile Lalliet, (1837-1892) born in Evreux, France, was admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1858. He was recognized for possessing remarkable technique and an elegant manner of phrasing, which is likely what landed him in the Paris Opera-Comique. As was the tradition with many Paris Conservatory oboists, he took to writing works that showcased the oboe as a virtuoso solo voice. While he published a number of virtuosic fantasies for winds and piano or winds with orchestra, it has been said that he attempted to render homage to his own instrument. Martha, Op. 23 is drawn from the themes of the opera of the same name by Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883), which was written and premiered in 1847. The Fantasy, as a set of variations on operatic melodies, allows the oboist to prove its ability to give life to melodic phrases while dazzling with two-voiced textures, double tonguing, and circular breathing.
The work was transcribed by Kevin Kastens for Mark Weiger, Professor of Music at The University of Iowa, where he teaches oboe and coaches chamber music. Kastens is Associate Director of Bands at The University of Iowa. The recording is by University of Iowa Concert Band, Kevin Kastens, conductor, Mark Weiger, oboe