CROCUS is the title of piece # IV in the book “Arc En Ciel” which is in the 100 Flowers Series. Arc En Ciel is for solo oboe for intermediate level - and up - oboists.

This blog offers insight into the work and playing tips.


I composed this work for an international SKYPE student named Irene Bariani, eager to embellish her repertoire of 21st century music and who shares like most, a love of flowers. I picked CROCUS for her as I recognize she has qualities of a Crocus which I admire.

The Crocus flower is really near and dear to my heart as it is the harbinger of Spring!
I love and am mystified by how this little delicate flower manages to burst through the frozen ground and reveal beautifully colored and tender petals.

I thought of the bulb under the frozen ground and the invincible character of these color flowers.
I love how they are so hardy and stand up to the harshest cold winds and even returning snow fall.

Amazing aren’t they!?!


Make long phrases. If possible without compromising tone quality, use one breath without breaking the line from rest to rest.

Of course keeping in mind that oboists are truly free to play all 3rd line Bs - including multi-phonics - as simply a third line B, and are free to pick any multi-phonic fingering preferred, I invite oboists to try the following for what produces the best harmonically sounding interpretation given the theory and philosophy of the work - for what works best on my psyche, artistic interpretation, oboe and reeds….!

(Everyone must decide for oneself!)

1) Measures 5 and 7 playing tips:
first: play the first two beats of 3rd line B as an harmonic. To achieve this, finger low B natural with a half hole fingering. It sounds haunting, hidden - like an underground bulb!

next: for beats 3 and 4 in measure 5, I suggest fingering low D and raising both right and left hand middle fingers to produce best harmonic sounding multi-phonic

2) Measures 10 and 11 playing tips:
to produce what I suggest as the harmonically sounding best multi-phonic, finger F# and lift your A finger.

As with all multi-phonics with this piece please do your best to not blast it. Try to keep it covered sounding. If you feel it is simply too harsh for your emotional esthetics, then by all means, thoroughly and guilt free, enjoy a simple B, or a harmonic B for above mentioned measures.

Measure 19 however, I urge oboists to at least play this one. It represents the triumph of youth, of Spring, moving beyond the confines of rigid earth and reaching up and out towards the sky above. OH LET YOURSELF REJOICE AND SING SPRING HERE to the end of the work!!!

Enjoy and feel free to email questions.
Yours in the service of music,

Kathryn J. Potter
PS (Oboe Brilliance offers international SKYPE coaching sessions via prepaid, private appointment. $40, per 1/2 hour or $75 per hour. Oboe students under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present for legal reasons during SKYPE sessions. Also, oboists of any age, level and nationality are invited to attend and possibly participate in my next master class hosted by OboeParis2020. March 7th, 2020. See home page for details.)