The oboe is my second favorite instrument, given that my favorite instrument is the bagpipe you may decide to now stop reading this review…
I was familiar with the name of Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) but really had no idea who he was or when he was. When I got this disc I didn't bother to read the notes and so entered into the experience with a blank slate. At first I thought of Vivaldi's but soon the name Respighi was down on my notes. I particularly noted "Ancient Airs and Dances". I spent the evening listening to and enjoying the disc. The playing of the oboe was nuanced and changed from piece to piece. It was playful where necessary or poignant when called for. That is, the soloist doesn't sound like he's playing the same music in each piece…the death of many solo albums. Especially the "stars" have a way of playing music as if each piece was from the same cloth and so become a John Wayne of interpretation. "And here is James Galway doing… (Fill-in the blank)…." Not so, here; the player becomes immersed into the music much like Sir Lawrence Oliver into a role.
I had not heard of Mr. Baccini before listening to this disc and I was pleasantly surprised. In the booklet, there is an interesting picture of him in the excellent notes about the composer and music, but no biographical information. But, he has a web site: www.alessandrobaccini.com. He wrote the cadenza in the third piece and it seems very well done.
I have nothing to compare this with and so cannot, in all honesty, give an unqualified endorsement to the disc simply because of a lack of context, but I enjoyed it immensely. Recommended to fill in your collection and experience something different. If nothing else it makes for a pleasant evening of listening as I read War and Peace.
Copyright © 2008 by Robert Stumpf II