Notes and Editorial Reviews
Oboe Concerto in C,
Sinfonia concertante in E?,
Clarinet Concerto in A,
Paavo Berglund, cond;
Alexander Schneider, cond;
Douglas Boyd (ob); Richard Hosford (cl); Robin O’Neill (bn); Jonathan Williams (hn); CO of Europe
COE 814 (77:07)
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe has existed for 25 years! A quarter century of great music-making and the release of several highly acclaimed recordings on major labels, thanks to the tireless efforts of conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Nikolaus Harnoncourt—who gave their best for the ensemble’s benefit. COE, the orchestra’s own label, now releases a series of recordings made throughout these years to celebrate its 25th birthday in a suitable way.
Why would another Mozart disc be worth considering, if the market is already swamped with Mozart releases? Two reasons. First of all, the performances are of an exceptionally high level. Douglas Boyd brings us one of the best interpretations of the oboe concerto on disc—very lively and joyful. His tempos are generally on the swift side. The Sinfonia concertante for winds, K 297b, is of similar sparkle and wit. The disc concludes with an equally splendid Richard Hosford in the famous clarinet concerto, K 622. The second reason is the sound—very warm and natural. Nowhere have I come across a spot where the music sounds tampered with by the engineering. All details receive great care, resulting in terrific sound quality.
Heinz Holliger’s recording on Philips with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields offers a very nice alternative for the Oboe Concerto. It was made as part of Philips’s complete Mozart edition, and it contains youthful freshness and humor. For the Clarinet Concerto, I may have a slight preference for Sabine Meyer’s gorgeously full wooden sound. The recording with Hans Vonk and the Dresden Staatskapelle on EMI is simply superb. Her improvisation-like approach to this all-too-often recorded work remains young and sparkling. An equally great Sinfonia concertante is included on that same disc.
Sadly, this release probably won’t receive the international attention it deserves, due to the unjustifiable amount of new Mozart releases we get every month. But it’s a generously filled disc that’s worth every single penny. If there’s still a small place on your Mozart shelf left, consider these remarkable performances. Happy birthday, CO of Europe!
FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Oboe in C major, K 314 (285d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Douglas Boyd (Oboe)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Written: 1778; Mannheim, Germany
Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Richard Hosford (Basset Clarinet)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria
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