There are about one hundred classical oboe concertos, most of which were composed by oboists hoping to promote appreciation of their own skills. Following in their footsteps, the Latvian oboist Andrius Puskunigis has compiled a recording of four concertos for oboe and oboe d’amore that represent the classic Viennese style.
From around 1750, the oboe, an instrument hitherto largely used in chamber and church music, began to make its way into concert halls, and to be played by virtuoso soloists. The instrument’s construction was evolving to increase the penetration of its hi register, making it more suitable both as an orchestral and a concertante instrument. Even so, the oboe of Mozart’s day could still only play two keys, thus restricting its technical range of available music and expression. Mozart overcame those limitations most wholly successfully, as one might imagine, but none of the other works here is negligible. His friend Carl Ditters van Dittersdorf composed four concertos for the instrument and its close but obsolescent relative, the sweeter and gentler oboe d’amore, which is heard here in the A major concerto.
The first and most exuberant of three concertos by Giuseppe Ferlendis (1755 - 1810) opens the recording with pleasant and undemanding, slightly Haydnesque sequences. Then comes a greater rarity, the C major concerto by Leopold Hofmann (1738 - 1793) of more archaically Baroque cut, owing a little of its dash and brio to the Italian concertos for the instrument such as those composed by Vivaldi. In true classical style, the cadenzas for each concerto were composed/improvised by Puskunigis, who also contributes booklet notes which give valuable context to the Classical-era oboe and discuss the particularities of each composer’s writing for the instrument.
From around 1750 the oboe, an instrument hitherto largely used in chamber music and church music, began to make its way into the concert halls, and to be played by virtuoso soloists. The Oboe Concertos on this new recording represent the Classical Viennese Style, with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as its undisputed genius. Although the other composers, Ferlendis, Ditters von Dittersdorf and Hofmann are lesser known, their Oboe (or Oboe d’Amore) Concertos share the same grace, sparkle and melodious flow as Mozart’s masterwork.
Andrius Puskunigis, Lithuanian, is first oboist of the Heidelberger Sinfoniker under Thomas Fey, and as such a specialist in Authentic performance Practice. His earlier recording for Brilliant Classics, the Bach Oboe Concertos (BC94991), won international praise for its stylistic purity, transparence and “Spielfreude”.
The St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra is one of the finest groups of Lithuania. They recorded over 20 CD’s, for BIS, Fleur du Son, Ambitus and other labels.