Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948)
Idillio-concertino in A major for oboe and small orchestra Op 15 (1932) [23:16]
Concertino in A flat major for cor anglais and small orchestra Op 34 [28:50]
Suite-concertino in F major for bassoon and small orchestra Op 16 [25:27]
Andrea Tenaglia (oboe); Willian Moriconi (cor anglais); Giuseppe Ciabocchi (bassoon)
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma/Francesco La Vecchia
rec. ORS Studio, Rome, 24-27 June 2009
NAXOS 8.572921 [77:32]
The operas of Wolf-Ferrari are occasionally heard nowadays, even if none can be said to be in the regular repertoire, but his concert works are only rarely performed. Even the large-scale cantata La Vita Nuova after Dante, so successful in the early twentieth century, has now virtually disappeared from view. I had considerable pleasure from a disc of his orchestral music from the Munich Radio Orchestra under Ulf Schirmer on CPO, and in reviewing it I remarked that the composer’s later orchestral works are ripe for re-evaluation. The present disc provides a further and equally welcome opportunity to do so (nor should earlier CPO recordings of concertante by this composer be forgotten).
Each of the three works here is for a solo wind instrument and small orchestra, is entitled or sub-titled Concertino, and is in four movements. The predominant form is gently neo-classical alternating with more lyrical movements, usually with a strong tinge of regret. At the same time each Concertino does have a distinct character deriving from the tonal characteristics of the instrument concerned. That for bassoon, treated more as Don Quixote than Sancho Panza, is probably the most memorable, especially for the penultimate Canzone, but all are enjoyable if at times somewhat garrulous.
All three soloists have the necessary virtuosity and, more important, flexibility and lyricism. I would hesitate to describe any of the works here as being amongst the composer’s most important but they are certainly characterful and enjoyable and, as always with this composer, are written with real craftsmanship.  

John Sheppard

Characterful, lyrical, enjoyable and written with real craftsmanship.