The flutist duo of Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff team up for a stunning interpretation of Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the latter’s score for director Roland Joffé’s 1986 movie The Mission starring Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons, among others. This score is from later in Morricone’s composing career and the low-key musical interplay powering this performance nonetheless possesses great elegance and nuance. The attention to detail guiding this track from its opening to conclusion evidences the level of commitment top flight musicians bring to tackling any work. It is little wonder this event proved to be a rousing success for the Randolph Regional Animal Shelter located in Mendam, NJ. It is difficult to imagine Morricone himself approving from the great beyond.


Markoff and Lazzara are frequent collaborators. Markoff has produced earlier studio releases from Lazzara and their familiarity with each other forms the basis for a strong performance here. There are other factors at play as well. Their obvious reverence for Ennio Morricone’s music is particularly notable – because it isn’t slavish. The trio are clearly interested in maintaining close fidelity to Morricone’s composition while still taking it in a direction suiting their individual talents. The dialogue between the two flutists and piano player Allison Brewster Franzetti sounds like we are hearing a conversation in close quarters and their commitment to invoking the song’s spirit is unwavering.

The recording captures the live performance well. Each of the three instruments are in near-ideal balance with one another. Franzetti’s piano leads things off, but the flutes and piano work together throughout the song without anyone attempting to command listener’s attention. It is not difficult to hear why Markoff and Lazzara’s playing has received such fulsome praise. They are currently working on a new album scheduled for a fall 2020 release entitled Romances in Blue. It will likely enjoy even greater success with this forthcoming effort than November 2019’s much lauded release Timeless.

Dorothy Varelas’ arrangement for the track is final key component. Her instinct for building this track as a steadily evolving dialogue focuses listeners on its melodic value plays to the composition’s inherent strengths. It is easy to imagine that extensive rehearsals were critical for bringing this off, but one of the most remarkable things about the track is how natural and free flowing it sounds. There’s nothing forced about this musical moment and each of the four “participants” brings something to the table.


Consider this track a ray of hope in an uncertain time. The fact that a small group of musicians can come together for a worthy cause and audiences will still turn out to see them – albeit in smaller numbers than they otherwise might, but the commitment nonetheless remains. “Gabriel’s Oboe” is a thoughtful performance from the first note to last and never overextends itself until listeners turn away. You’ll hang with each note and feel satisfied with the results. Steve Markson, Patricia Lazzara, Allison Bewster Franzetti, and arranger Dmitry Varelas have done the legendary Ennio Morricone a great service with this interpretation of the Italian composer’s composition.

Sebastian Cole

The music of Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division.  Learn more