Very little of Albinoniís immense output of compositions
has survived, unlike those of his better known contemporary Vivaldi.
The two composers even lived and worked in close proximity in Venice.
However, it is said that Albinoniís instrumental music, unlike that
of Vivaldi, is almost a by-product of his operatic music, with long
breathed and eminently singable lines which remind many commentators
of operatic Ďbel cantoí. Albinoni was a most proficient singer and was
fortunate to have a comfortable private income which allowed him to
pursue a full time musical career, including the composition of over
On this Apex release seven of the twelve opus 9 concertos
published in Amsterdam in 1722 are included, and they are indeed fine
works. All the concertos are in the three movement fast, slow, fast,
form that Albinoni was probably the first composer to use consistently
in his concertos. Often accused of displaying a lack of harmonic finesse,
these opus 9 concertos bear testament to Albinoniís melodic gifts together
with a pronounced individuality which was most probably due to the relative
insularity of his life.
The highlight of the disc is the haunting and meditative
adagio from the popular oboe concerto No. 2, which I feel must
have been the inspiration and model for the main theme from Geoffrey
Burgonís 1980ís score to the TV drama Brideshead Revisited. In addition,
the concerto No. 3 for double oboe is most appealing and proves to be
a inventive work. In particular, the opening allegro is notable
for the consistent flow of its musical line. For me, the concerto No.
1 for solo violin is the weakest and least memorable of all the concertos
on this release, particularly when compared to those concertos for the
oboe, which are clearly of a high melodic standard.
Pierre Pierlot, the oboe soloist, has a beautiful tone,
and his playing is distinguished and easily conveys the spirit of the
music. In addition, Jacques Chambon in the double oboe concertos and
Piero Toso in the two violin concertos are expressive and fluent in
their interpretations. Under the persuasive direction of Claudio Scimone
the performance of the ensemble I Solisti Veneti invite admiration,
displaying how assured they are in this repertoire.
The performances are naturally caught and mainly well
recorded; however I would have preferred slightly more prominence in
the bass line harmonies. The discís total timing of just over 71 minutes
is generous but unfortunately Apex have provided sparse booklet notes
and there is no information concerning the recording venue and dates.
For the quality of the music, the standard of performance and the modest
cost this disc will prove a welcome addition to any collection of late