Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerto in C major for two oboes, two clarinets and strings RV560 [9:18]
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751)
Concerto in G major for two oboes Op 9 No 6 [9:12]
Oboe Concerto in F major RV455 [9:34]
Concerto in C major for trumpet, three oboes, bassoon and continuo [8:'44]
Oboe Concerto in D minor Op 9 No 2 [11:02]
Concerto in C major for two oboes Op 9 No 9 [10:17]
Concerto in C major for two oboes, two clarinets and strings RV559 [10:40]
Paul Goodwin (oboe)
The King’s Consort/Robert King
rec. January 1990, Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London
Among recent Helios reissues - this one derives from full price Hyperion CDA 66383 - this one will should interest admirers both of the repertoire and of the performers. Paul Goodwin always promises tangibly eloquent performances and Robert King and his instrumental forces generally always come up with - at the very least - tidy and discreetly alive contributions.
The sequence of Albinoni and Vivaldi concertos offers plenty of room for technical manoeuvre, if not always much house room for expressive depth - one or two of these pieces are more ceremonial than really truly satisfying musically speaking. However with crisp and cheerful backing and a soloist of assured skill, abetted by some distinguished colleagues in the ranks when necessary, we can enjoy the results without too much tribulation.
Vivaldi’s concerto for two oboes, two clarinets and strings RV560 ensures plenty of rhythmic bounce, the piping clarinets offering an amusing gloss on their early use in this work - their parts are quite simple and they’re used as essentially colouristic devices. The disc actually ends with another concerto for the same soloistic complement, RV559, a stately work redolent of the Four Seasons; plenty of writing for pairs, and echo effects. Affectionate phrasing in the slow movement ensures a good performance. RV455 enshrines a nice, forthright and striding ritornello - confident, but with unexpected curlicues for the oboe and an infinitely agile finale to show off technical prowess.
Similarly the warmly phrased writing for two oboes in the central movement of Albinoni’s superior Op.9 No.6 concerto is enhanced by the well judged suspensions. Three of the Op.9 set are programmed - amongst Albinoni’s very best in this line - and so is the bluff and rather faceless, though not unenjoyable Concerto in C major for trumpet, three oboes, bassoon and continuo; an alfresco work of no great subtlety. But those Op.9 Concertos are cut from far finer cloth. The slow movement of No.9 is warmly textured and vested with as much lyric intensity as King will allow.
That said if one turns to the D minor Concerto Op.9 No.2 one finds that competitors offer other rewards too. Han de Vries with Alma Musica Amsterdam and Bob van Asperen [EMI CDC 7546642] for instance offer a warmer textured reading with a heavier string complement to match; 11-3-2-1 to King’s 3-1-1-1. This is not a like for like comparison but there are salient differences, King is more mellifluous, with integrated string textures. The Dutch performers are more springy, de Vries’s oboe playing is more ‘pipy’ than Goodwin’s, his articulation more extrovert. In the slow movement de Vries is bluff, whilst Goodwin’s introspection lends the music a more winsome character. It’s certainly fascinating to hear how these two fine players read so differently so beautiful and song-like a movement such as this.
Jonathan Woolf