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Mozart • R Strauss: Oboe Concertos

Cristina Gómez Godoy (oboe); West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Warner Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Mozart • R Strauss
Mozart: Oboe Concerto; R Strauss: Oboe Concerto
Cristina Gómez Godoy (oboe); West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim
Warner Classics 9029507760   46:53 mins


Cristina Gómez Godoy joined Daniel Barenboim’s Staatskapelle Berlin as principal cor anglais ten years ago, aged 21, and two years later became the orchestra’s principal oboist. In the booklet note she writes that she wanted to record these two concertos ‘because they are the reason I completely fell in love with the oboe and with music…If I could simply create in other people’s lives this feeling of happiness that I had back then, my wish would be fulfilled!’ She does that and more.

Godoy’s tone has an exceptional purity and beauty, without a trace of narcissism, and her musicianship is as gifted as it gets. The oboe is a relatively restricted instrument in pitch-range and options of articulation and volume, but any such feeling of limitation is bypassed here by Godoy’s ability to shape phrase after phrase in a way that mesmerises the ear, yet never sounds exaggerated or affected.

The Rondo finale of Mozart’s concerto can sometimes come across as lightweight, even trite compared to its two gorgeous predecessors, but Godoy’s artistry has it sounding in the same league. And her command of the long melodic spans so characteristic of Strauss’s late jewel of a concerto is total, engaging happily with the music’s winsome Mozartian connection.

In the Strauss at the start of the first movement’s central development section, the orchestral horns slightly smudge a couple of tricky unison phrases; everywhere else in both works the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s contribution is state-of-the-art, responding to Barenboim’s direction with a special class of supportive alertness, with the interplay between the woodwind pairs and solo oboe immaculately balanced.

Malcolm Hayes

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