Capolovari dell’800 per Oboe e Corno inglese
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
Concerto in E flat major, for oboe and orchestra (1823?) [06:41]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Variations in C for oboe and orchestra (1809) [07:58]
Andante, with Variations on ‘Tanti palpiti’ (from Tancredi) for oboe and strings [04:22]
Frederick CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Variations on a Theme by Rossini from La Cenerentola, for oboe and strings (c.1828) [04:04]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Sonata for Strings, No.1 (1804) [13:31]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1798-1848)
Andante sostenuto in F minor, for oboe and strings [03:23]
Concertino for cor anglais and orchestra (1816) [10:56]

Giuseppe FERLENDIS (1755-1810]
Concerto in F, for oboe and orchestra [12:55]
Alessandro Baccini (oboe, cor anglais); Orchestra Filarmonica Città di Adria/Giorgio Fabbri
rec. 10-12 May 2005, Villa Ca’Tiepolo, Isola di Albarella, Rovigo. DDD
TACTUS TC 791804 [63:43]
These are hardly the masterpieces promised by the rather gushing title, but there is a good deal of pleasant music to be heard here and, since it features such composers as Bellini, Rossini, Chopin and Donizetti, there are naturally more than a few attractive melodies to be heard. Alessandro Baccini is an accomplished soloist, and while the Orchestra Filarmonica Città di Adria isn’t a band of the very highest quality, they offer decent enough support, even if the recorded string sound is sometimes a little on the scrawny side.
The earliest work here is the concerto by Ferlendis. This is the work that was once thought (by some at any rate) to be by Mozart – and is now generally described as Ferlendis’ Concerto No. 3 – though it was the composer’s first work in the form, chronologically speaking. There are, indeed, generic resemblances to Mozart, but the music is too one-dimensional to be confused with his work for very long. Ferlendis was himself a famous oboist and the concerto surely served well to demonstrate his skills; sometimes, indeed, technical display seems to matter rather more than musical substance. The adagio, however, is an attractive, charmingly melancholic piece. It is well played here – though those wanting to explore the work of Ferlendis would probably find the cpo CD featuring Diego Dini Cacci, where this concerto is coupled with other works by the Bergamo-born oboist more suited to their needs.
The rest of the works on this present disc take us to a later period. Bellini is represented by a set of variations written as a student exercise during his days at the conservatory in Naples. The autograph manuscript has been drawn on and edited for this performance, with two cadenzas added and one variation rewritten. The best one can say for it is that the future opera composer is discernible in the instrumental bel canto of this early work. Chopin is present courtesy of a work written in the late 1820s for flute and piano. Here the piano accompaniment has been transcribed for strings - handled in a satisfactorily Rossinian manner. As suggested earlier, we are not dealing with masterpieces here, but both pieces make for pleasant enough listening. The same goes for the Andante by Donizetti, a youthful score written for oboe and piano; it is well adapted here for oboe and strings, the string orchestration again being convincingly idiomatic. Donizetti’s Concertino is, once more, a student piece, and again one has to talk more in terms of promise than fully realised achievement. The music is charming but lightweight.
Rossini - who gets headline billing on the front of the CD – is heard in a kind of composite set of variations on ‘Di tanti palpiti’ from Tancredi. The booklet notes (by Alessandro and Chiara Baccini with Stefano Celeghin) explain that what is played here “is the result of the collation of four scores” – a version for violin and harp, the orchestral score of the first performance of the opera (Venice, 1813), the Cadenze per Giuditta Pasta which Rossini wrote around 1820 and the 1858 ornamentations written for Gregoire. In effect we have a ‘new’ work by Rossini, for these particular forces. Baccini’s phrasing is particularly elegant and overall this is a useful addition to the already large repertoire of instrumental variations on arias by Rossini. The student Rossini is to be heard in what the manuscript describes as Variazioni di Clarinetto o Oboè di Gioacchino Rossini; a single movement which already displays its composer’s melodic gifts; so, too, does the even earlier string sonata.
This, in short, is a collection which explores a number of - largely rewarding – musical by-ways; but don’t expect the rewards to be in any way revelatory. Though it is all worth the occasional hearing, this is mostly music which is of interest not so much for its own intrinsic quality as for what its composer would go on to write later.

Glyn Pursglove
A pleasant exploration of some interesting by-ways … see Full Review