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Vivaldi: Concerti Per Oboe (Vivaldi Edition)

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Vivaldi is credited with about 20 concertos for oboe, strings, and basso continuo, although some are probably inauthentic, and others are alternative versions of works composed for other instruments. (For example, RV 450, RV 457, and RV 463 all were adapted by the composer from bassoon concertos.) When Vivaldi started writing concertos for this instrument, probably during the first decade of the 1700s, it was a young instrument. Predictably, some of the first performers were orphans in the Ospedale della Pietà. His oldest oboe concertos, however, were composed for the Saxon court in Dresden. Because Vivaldi composed oboe concertos throughout much of his career, a selection of them can provide listeners with an overview of his stylistic development. The seven concertos offered here do just that. There's much to enjoy. I was sucked in by the very first concerto, RV 447, whose opening phrases are separated by deliciously pregnant pauses.

Bernardini plays two different modern copies of an English oboe dating from 1730. The timbre is not as rich as that of a modern oboe. It can be a little "quacky" in the outer movements, but the sound in the slow movements is very agreeable. Bernardini's tempos, and other directorial choices, are sensible, and the impression one is given by these performances is one of dependability, although not one of excited discovery. Zefiro is a small group. Naïve's booklet lists two violins, one viola, one cello, one double bass, one harpsichord or organ, and one theorbo or Baroque guitar. Given the ensemble's size, Bernardini's oboe sometimes overpowers it.

Three of these concertos (RV 455, RV 453, and RV 463) were recorded for Astrée (8537) in 1994 and are reissued here. The remainder are new recordings. Note that, apart from Bernardini himself, the membership of Zefiro appears to have changed completely in the interim. "Old" Zefiro contained familiar names such as keyboard player Pierre Hantai and theorbist Rolf Lislevand. After hearing this CD several times, though, I was unaware of the personnel changes until I read about them in the booklet. The recording venue was moved as well, from France to Italy, but there's little about the recording itself to announce that fact.

This is another release in Naïve's ongoing Vivaldi series--the one with the attractive models on the front. I know some people have gone nearly apoplectic over the cover photography, but that seems like much ado about nothing. In terms of beauty, I think that teens and twenty-somethings, regardless of their gender, can have a lot in common with Vivaldi's music. -- Fanfare, Raymond Tuttle, Jan-Feb 2010

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 447: Allegro non molto
  2. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 447: Larghetto
  3. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 447: Minuetto
  4. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 455: Allegro
  5. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 455: Largo
  6. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 455: Allegro
  7. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 451: Allegro molto
  8. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 451: Largo
  9. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 451: Allegro
  10. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in A minor, RV 463: Allegro
  11. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in A minor, RV 463: Largo
  12. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in A minor, RV 463: Allegro
  13. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 457: Allegro non molto
  14. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 457: Andante
  15. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 457: Allegro molto
  16. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in D major, RV 453: Allegro
  17. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in D major, RV 453: Largo
  18. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in D major, RV 453: Allegro
  19. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 450: Allegro molto
  20. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 450: Larghetto
  21. Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 450: Allegro


Product Details

  • Composer: Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B00266LA2S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,465 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Naïve label has been issuing several CDs a year in its continuing Vivaldi series whose purpose is to record all the music contained in the Vivaldi autograph manuscripts held in the National University Bibliotheque (Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria) in Turin, about 450 works in all. These manuscripts were those in Vivaldi's own home library at the time of his death in 1741.

This CD contains seven oboe concerti (presented in this order: RV 447, 455, 451, 463, 457, 453, 450). The oboist is Alfredo Bernardini, who is also one of the founding members of Zefiro. Three of the concerti (RV455, 463, 453) were originally recorded and released on the Astrée label in 1994. The others were recorded for this CD in 2008. These concerti represent a little less than half of the oboe concerti Vivaldi wrote. (One has to be careful about numbers when writing about Vivaldi's oeuvre because new works are always turning up.) The oboe had only recently been introduced in Italy when Vivaldi wrote his first work using the instrument. All of this CD's concerti have three movements. Some passages of note: in the slow movement of RV 455 the oboe is accompanied by unison violins alone and its finale is a jig; the finale of RV 451 quotes the 'Peccator videbit' movement of Vivaldi's familiar 'Beatus vir' (RV 597); the first movement of RV 450 uses the main theme from the aria 'Scocca dardi' from his opera 'Griselda' (also recorded in this series) Vivaldi: Griselda (Vivaldi Edition). The three concerti RV 450, 457 & 463 were adapted from three of Vivaldi's bassoon concerti.

The playing here is vigorous, soulful or songful in turn. Bernardini is a master of his instrument and Zefiro is completely in tune with his musical intentions.

Scott Morrison
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Aside from his monumental contribution to string repertoire, Vivaldi had an unparalleled interest in writing for woodwinds. In his time the oboe was second to only the violin in popularity as a solo instrument. However, Vivaldi also took to writing for the bassoon, flute, recorder and even clarinet. Many of these instruments were new or in their youth, such as the transverse flute and the clarinet.

This exciting CD focuses on a wide variety of Vivaldi's concerto approaches for woodwinds. There are solo concerti for oboe and bassoon, concerti for four or more woodwinds and double concerti. This gives a wide perspective of Vivaldi's woodwind works that only omits his chamber concerti and sonatas. The recording is outstanding, not only for it's program, but for the enthusiasm of the performances. The soloists are excellent, with the oboes standing out while the bassoon playing is a bit dull at times compared with the work of Sergio Azzolini on Naive's concerti for oboe and bassoon release. The orchestra has a sharp edge and moving sense of rhythm. The balance suffers from a major loss of the bass instruments at various times throughout the recording which can be very annoying and taints an expert performance. The works included are:

Concerto in C for 2 Oboes and 2 Clarinets RV 559. This work is one of two for this combination, the other ends this album. Vivaldi here shows his skills including four soloists while moving the material along. This concerto is perhaps my favorite between the two for this combination. It's outer movements display a keen wit. Notable features include a slow intro (a feature shared by RV 560) and a slow movement in which the woodwind soloists accompany themselves without aid--it is a movement of stunning beauty and simplicity.
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Much of the Baroque suffers from the impression that it's akin to a sewing machine, too regular, too bland, too rigid. Solution seeking, rules, pedantic navel gazing that sacrifices feeling for form.

This is the third or fourth version of these works that I have heard. Zefiro has a degree of discipline and spontaneity, color and authenticity, which I have not heard in earlier performances.

Zefiro brings to bear a degree of involvement and feeling that is rare in performances. A tasteful blend of discipline and spontaneity of performance. There is a lot of "soloist" work going on behind the scenes that does not seek to stand out but to support. Concerted effort in the best sense of the word.

A Theorbo and Basso Continuo that lends very subtle color along with stability. A ripieno which seems to peek out as soliosts... and Mr. Bernardini's Oboe, which carries the duties of theme, counterpoint and yet shares in subtle ways meaning and progress.

The Oboe work is not simple but is not florid or Romantic either. It's well balanced and mature, the freedom of youth, the wisdom of experience.

One thinks that the ensemble is both an ensemble and a collection of gifted soloists, lending color and spontaneity to old music, making it live again. There is disciplined spontaneity here, there is life.

I can easily imagine such performances at the Ospedalie. Mr. Vivaldi playing along, leading the Girls to star and to work together in turn.

There is much joy, irony and humor here amidst the color. I laughed at various times. Yes, one can laugh at irony or the unexpected and here it may be seen.

This CD does not contain tired old Baroque. Vivaldi lives again.
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