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Albinoni - 12 Concertos, op. 9 / Manze, de Bruine, AAM, Hogwood Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 12, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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Albinoni was, along with Vivaldi, the most famous composer of baroque concertos in the "new" three-movement form, with two fast movements enclosing a slower middle. Strangely enough, the Op. 9 concertos--the pinnacle of Albinoni's output in this medium--have never been issued complete on period instruments, so this release is certainly welcome on those grounds alone. More to the point, the performances themselves are spectacular. Composed for various solo combinations involving violin (the incomparable Andrew Manze) and two oboes (Frank de Bruine and Alfredo Bernardini), these 12 works offer an almost operatic abundance of good tunes, brilliantly played. Take, for example, the sensuous slow movement of Concerto No. 2 in D Minor. Baroque composers are almost always at their best in minor keys, but this piece (actually a major-key contrast to the outer movements), really ought to be as popular as Pachelbel's Kanon or even Albinoni's famous Adagio. It's gorgeous, sophisticated music of the highest quality, and utterly characteristic of the delights that await listeners to this marvelous set. In short, a baroque dream! --David Hurwitz
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: L'Oiseau Lyre
  • ASIN: B00001X591
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,347 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The quality of performance from Hogwood and company are flawless and near perfecton as usual. I can fully recomend this recording to fans of Albinoni or Baroque music in general. Andrew Manze is amazing and I hope these guys continue to record all the major works of Albinoni on period instruments. One thing besides the praise of this album is that both Op.7 and Op.9 have been recorded by Simon Standage and the Collegium Musicum 90 several years ago. Their performances are just as good and deserve just as much credit. Critics probably forgot to mention that this territory was in fact previously charted.
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For a long time now, I've enjoyed starting my day with Albinoni. His music (even over Vivaldi's music) puts me in a very positive frame of mind to meet the challenges of the day. This recording on "original instruments" certainly starts my day most positively. The playing on this CD is breath taking. Hogwood and his Academy of Ancient Music are at their usual best delivering sharp and crisp performances of these works.
If you want to hear some of the finest examples of Baroque Composition coming from the very pinnacle of the period played exquisitely by one of the world's leading Baroque ensembles, buy this CD. By the way the sound is marvelous too.
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To begin I would like to refer you to the review above by David Hurwitz, the top reviewer from classics today, I know he is good because I seldom disagree. This is a fine performance of Albinoni's Opus 9, 4 concertos for violin, 4 for oboe and 4 for 2 oboes. They are not concertos for a virtuoso soloist, rather they are concertos for oboe with orchestra, the music flows gently and beautifully. I do not find the violin concertos as interesting as the oboe because the violin blends with the string orchestra a little too well, whereas the oboe has a very different voice. (I could suggest that the violin concertos might be arranged for oboe or flute ?) I enjoyed comparing this recording with the modern instrument one by I Musici and Heinz Holliger from the mid 1960s, I Musici was the best chamber orchestra for baroque, and Hollinger was the best oboist, so it was the best at the time, and still sounds pretty good. This recording with period instruments is so different, the sound is not harsh, the result of the lower pitch, 415hz, and the gut strings, the music sounds serene and easy so that it seems slower, but the timings are much the same. In short, this is a very good baroque performance.

An interesting aside; Alfredo Bernadini, the second oboist, made his own oboe !
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Format: Audio CD
I first became acquainted with Albinoni's Op. 9 concertos about forty years ago through an Erato release featuring I Solisti Veneti under the direction of Claudio Scimone. I've since acquired those performances on compact disc and listen to them partly out of nostalgia but also because of their energy and, well, because Albinoni's music is fabulous stuff. The more recent recordings by Simon Standage and company - on original instruments - employ at least four Chandos discs to cover even more of the composer's concerto output while sharing the measured vivacity of the older Scimone recordings. I approached this set by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music anticipating that I'd hear the same or even more spirit but, sadly, I was a bit disappointed. I'm not sure whom to fault, but these recordings to my untrained ear don't generate the same excitement as the other two do. Weaker, subdued, shy and retiring - those are subjective, metaphorical descriptions I'd used to characterize this collection. The performances are certainly not bad, just to my mind not as inspired. I'm not sure about the current availability of the Scimone, so I'd recommend the Standage recordings, which as I said offer more concerto sets but do spread the Op. 9 pieces across more than one disc.
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I'm sorry to say that I had always considered Albinoni to be a "one-hit wonder," (and of course that one hit wasn't really composed by Albinoni). Nothing could be further from the truth. These Opus 9 concertos - most for one or two oboes, a few for violin - are a delight from start to finish. My two favorites are the second (which, as other reviewers have pointed out, has a slow movement as lovely as anything you're ever likely to hear), and the seventh. But there really isn't a weak composition in the lot. I actually find these pieces more musically interesting than much of Vivaldi; and, because of the sheer sense of joy one hears in them, they often remind me of Handel. The performances are absolutely first-rate. Hogwood has brisk tempos without ever sounding rushed, the textures are clear, and the soloists are also very good. Even at the list price of $18 (I bought a very good used copy for half that), this set is a bargain!
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By noeton on February 22, 2008
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I find this to be a very good performance--were I able I'd give it 4 and a half stars. Those who like a good, tasteful period performance should be quite satisfied. That said, this reviewer often prefers a bit of extra verve, without going overboard as some young groups do these days. Rachel Barton's La Stravaganza is the finest example in this regard. This disc, however, does not have that added punch. Another reviewer attributes this to Albinoni himself, but that is absurd. It seems rather that Hogwood & Co. were going for a solid, 'historically accurate' performance where the composer 'speaks for himself.' They approach this ideal as well as one arguably can, but at the same time perhaps so does Barton.

The accoustic is very good, if somewhat sparse. The ensemble is set slightly to the background of the soloist, which thereby stands out just a bit too much. It does allow for nice languishing on the oboe melodies, however, which may be precisely the point.

There are moments of great beauty, as one should expect of old Tomaso, on this album. Yet the cost remains a bit high.
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