Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi: Orchestral Works

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If you can only hear one of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe's early recordings, let it be this one. Why? Because this disc starts with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for winds and no other disc shows both the COE's wind soloists plus the string ensemble to such advantage. All the soloists are individually outstanding -- Douglas Boyd's oboe is wonderfully pungent, Richard Hosford's marvelously clarinet is sweet, Robin O'Neill's bassoon is incredibly lovely, and Jonathan Williams' horn is amazingly robust -- and taken all together, the blend and balance are strong, supple, stylish, and essentially flawless. Conducted by Alexander Schneider, the COE's strings are behind the soloists every step of the way. The other performances on the program -- Bach's Concerto for violin and oboe with violinist Marieke Blankenstijn and oboist Boyd and Vivaldi's Concerto in C, "San Lorenzo," with first violinist Blankenstijn plus second violinist Iris Juda and cellist William Conway -- are equally fine in every way. Captured in colorful and immediate early digital sound, this recording deserves to be heard by anyone who loves great soloists or great music.

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