> Elevazione - The magic of the oboe [GPJ]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751) - Concerto in d minor for oboe and strings, op.9 no.2
J.S.BACH (1685-1750) - Adagio in F (Sinfonia from Cantata no.156) arr.Leslie Pearson
Alessandro MARCELLO (1684-1739) - Concerto in c minor for oboe and strings
Domenico ZIPOLO (1688-1726) - Elevazione, for solo oboe, cello, strings and organ. arr. Victoria Hunt
Domenico CIMAROSA (1749-1801) - Concerto for oboe and strings, arr. Arthur BENJAMIN
J.S.BACH – Adagio (Sinfonia from Easter Oratorio)
Tomaso ALBINONI – Concerto in D major for oboe and strings
Gordon Hunt, oboe/conductor, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Recorded at the Louis de Geer Concert Hall, Norrköping, Sweden, April 2001
BIS Northern Lights BIS-NL-CD-5017 [58:37]


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Gordon Hunt will be a name familiar to many concert-goers and music-lovers all over the UK. He has held a number of positions in important British orchestras, and now his numerous recordings have brought him to an international audience. These sparklingly accomplished performances of Baroque masterpieces for oboe will further enhance his growing reputation as one of the finest oboists playing today.

Most of the works recorded here are familiar enough, particularly to oboists and those fond of the instrument and its repertoire. The Albinoni with which the disc starts – the d minor concerto – is given a characteristically alert and characterful reading, full of attractively personal yet entirely stylish touches of phrasing, dynamics etc. The Vivaldi-like Adagio is correctly singled out for mention in Stig Jacobsson’s very informative booklet. It is a particularly beautiful movement, which Jacobsson suggests should be known as ‘The Albinoni Adagio’ rather than the much over-performed piece known by that name which he didn’t even write!

Hunt’s tone is creamy and extremely smooth – some will perhaps find excessively so – but superbly even and controlled. One issue does arise from the very start, however, which is that of noisy key-work. This is only seriously noticeable in the quick music, but I have to say that Hunt’s Howarth oboe is very clicky. This isn’t a problem for me – I’m a wind player myself, and quite used to such things - but some listeners might well find it intrusive, almost like tiny castanets playing strangely asymmetrical rhythms in accompaniment! It’s worst in the Cimarosa, which otherwise is given a most alluring performance.

The novelty item on the disc is the one which gives the issue its name – Elevazione by the obscure Italian 18th century composer Domenico Zipoli. The booklet gives a brief account of this gentleman’s fascinating but sad life; kicked out of Rome as a young man for having ‘relations’ with his aristocratic benefactress, spending ten years in Seville apparently waiting for a boat to Paraguay. Finally arriving in South America, he died in Argentina of tuberculosis before being able to take holy orders, which had been his goal. An eventful but melancholy story, and one which perhaps spices up one’s response to this essentially attractive but unremarkable piece.

The playing of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra is superb throughout, and the whole thing is perfectly captured by the BIS engineers. A great artistic success, but your response may depend on whether Hunt’s noisy key-work is acceptable to you.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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