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Vivaldi: Oboe Concertos / Klein, Newman, New Brandenburg Collegium

Klein / Newman / New Brandenburg Collegium
Release Date: 09/28/2010 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 7003   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VIVALDI 8 Oboe Concertos Alex Klein (ob); Anthony Newman (cond); New Brandenburg Collegium CEDILLE CDR 7003 (75:00)


Concertos, F. VII: No. 13 in a (RV 463); No. 10 in D (RV 453); No. 6 in C (RV 447); No. 5 in a (RV 461); No. 12 in F Read more class="ARIAL12"> (RV 457); No. 1 in d (RV 454); No. 11 in C (RV 450); No. 2 in F (RV 455)


Vivaldi’s oboe concertos have not lacked worthy advocates: Holliger (mostly on LPs), Indermühle, Glaetzner, and Schilli have recorded comprehensive surveys—all, incidentally, on modern instruments. More selective collections from Lencsés and Bernardini come to mind as well. Now add to the list Alex Klein, formerly the principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. Klein dedicates these performances to Vivaldi’s unnamed students at the Ospedale who first played these concertos, which demanded far greater technical skills than the contemporaneous concertos of Albinoni and Marcello. The inescapable conclusion, he suggests, is that the Ospedale’s girls must have attained a greater proficiency than male professionals were to attain for another century. What he neglects to mention is that the girls must have played these demanding pieces with two-keyed Baroque oboes. What does the relative paucity of period-instrument recordings of Vivaldi’s oboe concertos tell us?


Klein, of course, plays a modern instrument, but his bravura readings of the fast movements, especially, leave no doubt about his skill level. Flawlessly articulated and ornamented, they are breathtaking in their daredevil virtuosity. The slow movements are, if anything, even more imaginative and individual. It adds up to an edge-of-the-seat experience without a dull moment—in a word, sensational. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in Vivaldi, the oboe, or just plain superb music-making.


FANFARE: George Chien


Antonio Vivaldi was once famously derided by Igor Stravinsky for having written one concerto which he then copied five hundred times. One listen to these elegant and technically daunting oboe concertos, some of the most demanding virtuoso pieces of their time, will quickly put Stravinsky’s arrogant comment to bed.

Precious little is known about Vivaldi’s life. We know that he was the music teacher at the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice, a publicly-funded institution for orphaned or abandoned girls. We know that he was a priest and that he was one of the most prolific and, as these works prove, innovative composers of his day. He was a beloved teacher and it is assumed that the majority of his instrumental works were written for the girls in his care. That he created such abundant and original material, music which challenges modern musicians even after three hundred years, is testimony to the abilities of Vivaldi as a teacher and to the talent of his students. There was no other composer writing music like this for the oboe in his day. Even Tomaso Albinoni, the most famous oboist in Venice, did not compose concertos of this scope.

Alex Klein, playing on a modern oboe with a modern string band to accompany him, brings these works to life with great elegance and panache. It is often said that the oboe is the closest instrument to the human voice. Klein not only understands brilliant virtuosity, but he is quite capable of singing with his instrument. His deft handling of the many blazingly fast passages in these works is astounding not only for the accuracy of his playing, but also for the apparent ease with which he brings them off. In the slow movements, and they are all achingly gorgeous, Mr. Klein plays with beautifully arched phrases and a sweetness of tone that would rival the singing of the late-lamented Dame Joan Sutherland.

Anthony Newman, long a big name in Baroque music, leads the New Brandenburg Collegium with an understated elegance that is the perfect accompaniment for these flashy displays. The strings are warm and immaculately in tune. Mr. Newman’s harpsichord provides a solid foundation without ever sounding too busy. Recorded sound is balanced and just reverberant enough to give us warmth without blur.

At seventy-five minutes, this is a generous program, and one worth many a repeated listen. Originally issued on the Musical Heritage Label in 1995, it is a welcome addition to the Cedille catalogue.

-- Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Oboe in A minor, RV 463 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
2.
Concerto for Oboe in D major, RV 453 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
3.
Concerto for Oboe in C major, RV 447 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
4.
Concerto for Oboe in A minor, RV 461 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
5.
Concerto for Oboe in F major, RV 457 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
6.
Concerto for Oboe in D minor, Op. 8 no 9/RV 454 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
7.
Concerto for Oboe in C major, RV 451 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
8.
Concerto for Oboe in F major, RV 455 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alex Klein (Oboe)
Conductor:  Anthony Newman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Collegium
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 

Sound Samples

Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 463: I. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 463: II. Largo
Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 463: III. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in D major, RV 453: I. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in D major, RV 453: II. Largo
Oboe Concerto in D major, RV 453: III. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 447: I. Allegro non molto
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 447: II. Larghetto
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 447: III. Minuetto
Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 461: I. Allegro non molto
Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 461: II. Larghetto
Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 461: III. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 457: I. Allegro non molto
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 457: II. Andante
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 457: III. Allegro molto
Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op. 8, No. 9, RV 454: I. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op. 8, No. 9, RV 454: II. Largo
Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op. 8, No. 9, RV 454: III. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 451: I. Allegro molto
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 451: II. Larghetto
Oboe Concerto in C major, RV 451: III. Allegro
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455: I. Allegro giusto
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455: II. Grave
Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455: III. Allegro

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Surface Noise October 6, 2013 By Terry A. (Bernardsville, NJ) See All My Reviews "Excellent performance, but I downloaded the MP3 version and was surprised to hear a lots of clicks like vinyl surface noise in the early tracks. I have no idea if the CD also has the noise. I saw no warning that this was converted from vinyl without noise removal." Report Abuse
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