Messiter may be the "Heifetz of the oboe" and he could hardly have asked for better support than that which he receives from the Guildhall String Ensemble.
Those wishing to follow their musico-horticultural bent in the baroque oboe garden have plenty of seed packets to choose from; some are regularly used, some infrequently, whilst others remain to be opened in the presence of recording equipment. There are no unopened packets here. There were few instruments for which Vivaldi neglected to write a concerto or two, and though the harpsichord was one of them the oboe was not; of his 19 completed oboe concertos, those originally written as such include both RV447 and RV454, the latter being one of two in IIRead more cimen/o (Op. 8) described as for "violin or oboe", though the music strongly suggests oboe.
Bach's harpsichord concertos were developed from concertos first written for other solo instruments; in the case of BWV 1056, the Harpsichord Concerto in F minor, the (lost) original is believed to have been written for the oboe. The question mark over HWV287, first published in 1863, is more fundamental: did Handel write it? Whatever the answer, no one is being deprived of any royalties and we may enjoy it in its own right—genuine, misascribed or pastiche. No doubt, however, about the concertos of Marcello and Albinoni (who was very generous to oboists), both old favourites and justly so.
The accompanying booklet describes Messiter as "the Heifetz of the oboe"; be that as it may, overstated or not, he is a master in every aspect of his craft. The longest and busiest of lines (and there are plenty of both here) emerge with smooth grace, rounded tone and impeccable dynamic control; in the Largo of the Bach Concerto he adopts the keyboard embellishment, lock stock and barrel, but with a smoothness that disarms criticism. The Guildhall String Ensemble demonstrated their fresh-faced approach to baroque music in their recent recordings of Handel's Op. 6 Concerti grossi for RCA ((p RD87895, RD87907, 2/90), and they do so again here; Messiter could hardly have asked for better and more attentive support, in which the recording engineers play a commendable part. It isn't possible to identify the best recording of baroque oboe concertos on modern instruments, but it is reasonable to say that this is very high in the ranking.