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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741)
Oboe Concertos (complete)

Concerto in D Minor RV 454
Concerto in C Major RV 184
Concerto in C Major RV 449
Concerto in C Major RV 447
Concerto in D Major RV 453
Concerto in C Major RV 452
Concerto in C Major RV 448
Concerto in F Major RV 455
Concerto in G Minor RV 460
Concerto in A Minor RV 461
Concerto in C Major RV 451
Concerto in C Major RV 450
Concerto for 2 oboes in C Major RV 534
Concerto in F Major RV 457
Concerto for 2 oboes in D Minor RV 535
Concerto in A Minor RV 463
Concerto for 2 oboes in A Minor RV 536
Ingo Goritzki (oboe II)
Christine Schornstein (cembalo)
Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig
Burkhard Glaetzner (oboe and director)
Recorded 1989, Licensed from Capriccio, Germany
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92001 [3CDs: 57.35+48.07+56.55]
Vivaldi is known mainly for his numerous violin concertos. But he came to explore woodwind instruments through his interactions with travellers to Venice (among them G. H. Stoltzel and Johann Heinichen) and his own travels to Germany and France. Also, his obligations to produce music for the instruments to be played at the Ospedale and abroad led to his using a variety of instruments in concerti. The oboe became very popular in the early eighteenth century. It first appeared in St. Mark's in 1698, and the Ospedale della Pieta employed oboe teachers from 1703 onwards. Vivaldi's sonata RV 779 contains a very demanding part for the oboe dated to 1710 and his opera 'Ottone in Villa' of 1713 contains a significant oboe part.

As was his way (and that of many others) Vivaldi did his share of self-borrowing, so that eight of the surviving oboe concertos exist in other forms. For instance RV448 was reworked both as a bassoon concerto (RV470) and another oboe concerto (RV447).

The concertos were not necessarily all written for use at the Pieta. Many of them may well have been written for virtuosos to play at private performances for the nobility either in Venice or perhaps at the Saxon Court in Dresden, where Vivaldi had contacts. The form and orchestration of the works make them eminently suitable for a small group of players to perform for the delectation of a group of aristocrats in a Venetian Palazzo.

These disks contain all the surviving concerti, including three for two oboes. There are 17 works here, lasting a total of 150 minutes. None of the concertos is long (under ten minutes each) and all, except one, have essentially the same 3 movement fast-slow-fast form. The slow movements can be tender and elegant, evoking wistfulness and longing. But none explore the vein of profound melancholy of which the oboe is capable; these works were written to entertain.

Whether due to the presence of splendidly talented girls at the Pieta or to the power of other virtuosos, Vivaldi asked a lot of the reed-blowing soloists of his time. Their instruments were devoid of most of today's key ironmongery, but even on a modern instrument the oboe concertos are still a challenge. Vivaldi expects his soloist to be able to cope with long phrases with hardly a breathing space and very violinistic figurations. Burkhard Glaetzner, playing on a modern instrument, not only rises to that challenge brilliantly but also directs the group. Constantly mellifluous of tone, he never betrays the slightest problem with any of Vivaldi's many technical challenges and takes some of the movements at breathtakingly brilliant speeds. In the slower movements his tone captures the atmosphere beautifully with never a bulge or awkward moment. In the concertos for two oboes, Glaetzner is ably partnered by Ingo Goritzki.

Playing on modern instruments but with vibrato kept well under control, Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig make a fine partner for Glaetzner. They play crisply and accurately, even at the brisk speeds that he takes some of the faster movements. But their playing, though quite stylish, has a certain solidity to it. I would have liked more bounce and much more of a feel for the dance element in some of the accompaniments. This is particularly true when the whole ensemble is playing in the faster movements, and the bass line has a certain heaviness that I do not like. Some of this, of course, is down to personal preference and with playing as brilliant as Glaetzner's, it should not put you off this set.

Robert Hugill



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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