subtitle tells all – Oboe Concertos from the Baroque to the
Present. One of the former, two from the late eighteenth
century, one of the latter and something near to our time
but not quite of it, Wolf-Ferrari’s exquisitely songful little
let’s start with the Big Beast of the Baroque. Telemann’s
concerto has moments of sheer transparent bliss; gauzy lissom
supportive strings with the oboe’s aria sung above them.
Or there’s his pregnant sliver of a second adagio that acts
more as theatrical tension for the easy command of the finale.
He’s joined by the later Parisian elegance of Garnier whose
concerto more resembles a charming suite. In five very brief
movements it parades its ease of utterance and plenty of
winning melody; hardly a really distinctive work it appears
Ferlendis was born in 1755 – a booklet misprint gives 1785.
Mozart wrote his oboe concerto for Ferlendis and he must
have been an agile player with powerful breath control and
a penchant for the melodic line. His own concerto, thought
for some time to be actually by Mozart, is an elegant charmer
in its own right. Deftly and lightly scored it wears its
lyrical attractions lightly but persuasively. It’s also certainly
not stinting in terms of harmonic interest. The slow movement
is brief but quite powerful whilst the finale is here taken
at an amiable un-pressing tempo and sounds all the more jovial
as a result.
brief comments above on the Idillio-Concertino need
to be expanded only slightly. This is a recitative and aria-rich
twenty-minutes worth of grace. Quasi-operatic – or certainly
quasi-vocalised – the oboe sings warmly and avidly. Melodies
are delicious, and are spun, slow to an expressive crawl,
and resume. There’s rich verismo passion here; a gorgeous
work that ends with a sprightly finale and a feel of quiet
there is another splendid work, the one that gives its name
to the disc’s title. Down a River of Time was written
in 1999 as a memorial tribute. Its three movements bear the
titles, successively, Past hopes and dreams, and
sorrows, and memories of tomorrow. Written in
a warmly accessible style its curvaceous lyricism is optimistic
and alive. The wistful central movement is a pastoral reflection,
slightly filmic maybe, with touches of VW modality. The fresh
air finale finds the soloist carving curlicues of avian delight
as the river flows wide and generous; flecks of the baroque,
maybe also Copland accompany her.
highly accomplished Andrea Gullickson proves a lyrically
and tonally attractive guide. Her breath control sounds splendid
and she weaves her patterns over contemporary and baroque
with equal pleasure. The Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra,
a modern instrument group, is directed by Lucia Matos and
furnishes fine support, fully alive to stylistic differences,
and they are attractively recorded as well.