Alfredo Bernardini / Zefiro

Vivaldi: Concerto per oboe

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This recording is part of the Naïve label's Vivaldi Edition, a complete recording, scheduled to run to 100 discs, of a trove of Vivaldi manuscripts unearthed at the library of the National University of Turin. The recordings have been divided up among various mostly young Italian Baroque interpreters, with a pleasing variety of approaches. The small group Zefiro, under the direction of oboist and soloist Alfredo Bernardini, offers one-instrument-per-part readings and subtle, graceful solos on two different copies of the same 1730 oboe by the London builder Stanesby. Three of the concertos here are reissued from a 1994 recording for the Astrée label, but the approaches of the older and newer recordings are consistent, the biggest difference being the use of a double bass rather than a violin in the continuo group in the later concertos. The small ensemble works well with the gentle, slightly diffuse sound of these oboes, although more vigorous performances with larger groups can certainly be imagined, especially in view of the close relationship of at least one music with operatic music of the period. The program is a strong point; the concertos cover Vivaldi's career from early to late, and they show the evolution in his style from motoric, brilliantly virtuosic concertos to variegated textures yielding limitless surprises. Among these is the finale of the Oboe Concerto in A minor, RV 462, which is in C major even though the first movement of the work is in A minor. Annotator Michael Talbot chalks this up to an oversight on Vivaldi's part; the event doesn't conform to early eighteenth century musical grammar, but listeners may wish to ponder the finale for themselves. It is unusual, as well, in the density of its fugal writing. Although it's not a strong dramatic statement like some of the other discs, this is another impressive entry in the massive Vivaldi Edition series, which is rewriting music history as it appears. Notes are in English, French, and Italian.

blue highlight denotes track pick