Notes and Editorial Reviews
Sarah Francis plays each and every one of these concertos stylishly and with affection - an enchanting disc.
Albinoni's oboe concertos may not have been the very first of their kind to be written—Vivaldi could have beaten him to it by a short head—but they are among the most delightful. Whereas Vivaldi usually treated the solo instrument virtuosically, allowing it to provide strong contrasts with the string tuttis, Albinoni's oboe parts more frequently interact with the string tuttis, at least in the outer movements. This captivating anthology brings together the four concertos for oboe and strings from the latter's Op. 7 (1715) with four similarly scored from his Op. 9 (1722). Each set, consisting of 12 works,
contained in addition four concertos for two oboes and strings and four for strings alone, though functioning slightly differently in each publication.
A handful of Albinoni's oboe concertos have been available in modern printed editions for many years but the bulk of them have not, and so it is all the more welcome to hear them in this new recording. There is not a dull work among them though some undoubtedly yield more enduring satisfaction than others. As Michael Talbot remarks in a characteristically interesting and informative note, the greater formal variety is to be found in slow movements—all the concertos by the way, adopt the fast-slow-fast pattern. Some of these slow movements are hauntingly beautiful; the Adagio of the Concerto in D minor (Op. 9 No. 2) is the most lyrical of them and more than worthy to supplant the tiresome, spurious Adagio propagated by record companies. Another belonging to the Concerto in F major (Op. 7 No. 9) and a firm favourite of mine since I discovered it in 1957 on a L'Oiseau-Lyre LP of Albinoni's oboe concertos played by Pierre Pierlot, consists of a short succession of affecting modulations for strings during which the oboe remains tacet.
Sarah Francis plays each and every one of these concertos stylishly and with affection. Her ornamentation is crisp and apposite and her phrasing and articulation warmly communicative. These are lively, intelligent and refreshingly unbuttoned performances in which she is vigorously supported by the strings of the London Harpsichord Ensemble. Rhythmically secure and with a pleasing awareness of dance measures, this playing gave me uninterrupted pleasure from start to finish; the outer movements of the captivating Concerto in C major (Op. 7 No. 12) afford an example of what I mean. Sometimes I would have liked less vibrato from the upper strings, but that is a small point which may hardly bother listeners. All in all an enchanting disc. Fine recorded sound. Strongly recommended.
-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [3/1990, reviewing the original release of this recording, Unicorn-Kanchana 9088]
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title