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Brilliant Classics

The Romantic Oboe
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Songs played by oboe and piano

  1. Le lever de la lune [4:38]
  2. La feuille de peuplier [1:43]
  3. Tristess [2:27]
  4. La Mort d’Ophélie [3:03]
  5. Aimons-nous [4:39]
  6. L’attente [2:01]
  7. Au cimitière [2:51]
  8. Chanson triste [2:33]
  9. La cloche [5:13]
  10. L’enlèvement [2:20]
  11. Extase [4:26]
  12. Peut-être [1:33]
  13. Pourquoi rester seulette [1:40]
  14. La sérénité [3:21]
  15. Le rossignol [2:45]
  16. Plainte [3:35]

Sonata for oboe and piano, op.166
Bart Schneemann (oboe), Paolo Giacometti (piano)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Oboe Concerto in C major K.314
Bart Schneemann (oboe), Amsteerdam Sinfonietta/Lev Markiz
Ludwig August LEBRUN (1752-1790)

Oboe Concerto in C major
Lajos Lencsés (oboe), Kammerorchester Mannheim/WolfganHoffmann
Vicenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)

Oboe Concerto in E flat major
Francesco Quarantar (oboe), Konzertensemble Salzburg/Alberto Veronese
Antonio ROSETTI (1750-1792)

Oboe Concerto in D major
Burkhardt Glaetzner, oboe, Neubrandenburger Philharmonie/Romely Pfund
Alessandro MARCELLO (1669-1747)

Oboe Concerto in D minor
Robin Williams (oboe), Heidelberger Kammerorchester
Recorded at Hervormde Kerk Rhoom, 1997 (CD1). No details for CD2
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92449 [60:04 + 77:09]

This is a very strange issue, not least because of its title ‘The Romantic Oboe’. The first CD does come into that category, consisting as it does of music by Camille Saint-Saëns. CD2, however, is given up to Classical and Baroque composers. My copy came without any notes, and there are recording details (and skimpy ones at that) only for CD1. All very mysterious!

Then there’s the music on CD1; Saint-Saëns’ Oboe Sonata, with which it ends, is a most attractive piece when played well, and a staple of the solo oboe repertoire. But what can I say about the sequence of sixteen songs that precede it? Some of them are lovely in themselves, and are rightly celebrated. But as played by Schneemann, I found them a dispiriting experience, for he displays little variety or sense of involvement, so that the lyrical, vocal appeal has been almost entirely lost. I found the fat, sleek tone rather off-putting, too, and had to listen for a little while to be sure it wasn’t a cor anglais.

The sonata is much better, and Schneemann turns in a passable performance of the Mozart Concerto on CD2; but this is still pretty dull stuff. The Lebrun Concerto is stilted and predictable, serving only to emphasise what a fine work the Mozart is (even though the composer isn’t really on top form here). Bellini’s early concerto, on the other hand, has a particularly jolly final Rondo, though Quarantar’s performance is pedestrian, and the instrumental accompaniment plods along.

Rather more interesting playing comes from Burckhardt Glaetzner in the attractive D major work by Antonio Rosetti (Bohemian despite the Italianate name). The orchestral music is played with real stylistic flair by Pfund and his ensemble, and Glaetzner plays with affection (though he is a little accident-prone, and also sometimes a bit flat).

Robin Williams turns in a rather charmless performance of the lovely Marcello D minor, with sudden bursts of rather alarmingly fast double tonguing, which sounds like a bit of a circus trick, without real musical or stylistic justification. Not very nice.

Sometimes, these cheap and cheerful compilations can turn out to be worth the very low outlay for just one high-class track or item; not so here, I’m afraid. The whole thing smacks of the cutting-room floor.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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