Vivaldi: Concertos for Oboe, Strings and Continuo

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Concertos for Oboe, Strings and Continuo
PERFORMER: Douglas Boyd (oboe), Marieke Blankestijn (violin); Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Given his huge output of concertos for other instruments, it’s perhaps surprising that Vivaldi managed only about 20 for the oboe (after all – sorry, bassoonists – even the lowly bassoon merited 37!). Douglas Boyd has chosen five of the better-known ones including RV447 in C major, with its elegant Minuet, and a very good job he makes of them too. I have to confess to a weakness for the modern oboe in solo music of this period – there’s not an ugly sound in any of these performances, and Boyd’s tonal resources prevent the music from ever sounding monochrome. In this he’s greatly helped by the ever-stylish COE strings, and Harold Lester’s discreet harpsichord continuo. In the sixth work recorded he’s joined by the orchestra’s leader, Marieke Blankestijn, and her playing is equally impressive. Recorded sound is excellent: the oboe is ‘spotlit’, but not objectionably so. If this is not the sort of disc you listen to all in one go, it’s still a very enjoyable one. Stephen Maddock