Italian Oboe Concertos
Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700-1775)
Concerto in G, for oboe, strings and continuo [16:06]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
Concerto in E flat, for oboe and orchestra [6:21]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Introduction, Theme and Variations in C, for oboe and orchestra [7:59]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Concertino in G, for cor anglais (oboe) and orchestra (1816) [10:45]
Giuseppe PILOTTI (1784-1838)
Concerto in F, for cor anglais (oboe) and orchestra [7:18]
Sante AGUILAR (1734-1808)
Concerto in C, for oboe and orchestra [9:21]
Diego Dini Ciacci (oboe, conductor)
Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto
rec. Pollini Auditorium, Padova, Italy, September 2009. DDD
CPO 777 715-2 [57:54]
Four early 19th century works, and two from the late 18th, make up this splendid
if somewhat short concert by ace Italian oboist Diego Dini Ciacci and the
classy Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto. Soloist and ensemble appeared together
on another CPO CD (777 157-2) released half a dozen years ago, in a similar
programme showcasing the wind concertos of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, a composer
better known, like half of those on this disc, for his operas.
The works here by Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti and Pilotti do indeed all bear
the stamp of a musician heavily influenced by the opera. They are uncomplicated
and relatively unadventurous in scope, melody-driven and highly cantabile.
At the same time their moderately virtuosic nature betokens an impressive
understanding of the possibilities, as they were at the time, of the oboe
- or in Donizetti's and Pilotti's case, the cor anglais.
The two 'truest' concertos, so to speak, are the earlier ones that open and
close the disc. Sammartini's 'Sturm und Drang' work is a masterpiece of its
time, bristling with colour and emotion. Aguilar's straightforward but attractive
Concerto is enhanced by the extended final-movement quotation of a theme from
Mozart's Exsultate, Jubilate.
These two works, plus the Pilotti, are first recordings. Those by Donizetti,
Bellini and especially Rossini, on the other hand, have all been recorded
many times before. Rossini's Introduction, Theme and Variations is
rightly a staple of the clarinettist's repertory. That said, Ciacci points
out interestingly in the notes that Rossini originally indicated in his manuscript
that the solo part may be taken by either clarinet or oboe.
He argues moreover that certain passages are better suited to the latter.
However, an unknown hand subsequently crossed out the "oboe" reference, with
the rest being history: for 200 years it has been played almost exclusively
by the clarinet!
Ciacci (pronounced 'charchee') makes a compelling case for oboists to finally
take up the Rossini, but in all these works his performance is sophisticated:
expressive, detailed and precise, with an unerring Italian ear for lyricism.
His last recording for CPO met with similar critical enthusiasm - see review. The Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto were brought to prominence
in the Seventies by Claudio Scimone and in the Nineties by Peter Maag. Now
nearing their half-century anniversary, they do not have a huge amount to
do in music that always puts the oboist centre-stage; what they do, they do
with typical style and poise. They are well recorded too; Ciacci even better.
The German-English-Italian booklet notes are well written, informative and
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
Uncomplicated, relatively unadventurous, melody-driven and highly cantabile.