An audiophile LP transfer for a superbly engineered modern recording of Handel’s Oboe Concertos.
The Latvian oboist Andrius Puskunigis has built a catalogue of critically acclaimed albums on Brilliant Classics. Fanfare welcomed his 2016 recording of Mozart and contemporaries in glowing terms: ‘Puskunigis and company provide a little over an hour of unalloyed pleasure, as they did in their lovely recording of reconstructions of J.S. Bach oboe concertos a year ago… Brilliant Classics… offers this in excellent sound… Classical Oboe Concertos would be a most welcome release at full price. At Brilliant’s bargain pricing it should be absolutely irresistible to anyone remotely interested in fine oboe playing or Classical-period concertos.’
From 2020, this album of oboe concertos by Handel includes a number of first recordings and reconstructions. There is ample justification for such imaginative licence, given that Handel himself remarked that the oboe was his favourite instrument, and given the freedom with which he adapted and transcribed his own music as the occasion demanded.
Thus, alongside the canonic three oboe concertos, Puskingis presents two more, one for the oboe and the other for the oboe d’amore, transcribed from arias originally written for castrato roles in his operas. A C major Concerto thus includes the famous aria ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ from Rinaldo, while the expressive heart of the D major concerto for oboe d’amore features ‘Ombra mai fu’ from Serse.
A similarly inventive approach has been taken to ornamentation and decoration, inserting liberal opportunities for Andrius Puskunigis to display his virtuosity with cadenza passages. Accompanied by the neatly contoured modern-instrument Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, and recorded in the acoustically optimal modern concert hall of Klaipėda, the album has a focused resonance which makes it highly suitable for this transfer to 180gm vinyl.
- The LP issue of a highly successful recording of Handel Oboe Concertos.
- This album presents the corpus of oboe concertos by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), of which unfortunately few original works have survived. The composer, however, was particularly fond of this instrument and learned to play it from his teacher, the organist Friedrich Zachow. He gave it many solos in oratorios, operas, concerti grossi and sonatas, and is reported to have said of his early works for oboe: "I used to write like the D-v [Devil] in those days, but chiefly for the oboe, which was my favourite instrument."
- The Oboe Concerto in G minor is his best known, furthermore we hear two Concerto-Pasticcio’s for Oboe and Strings, a Concerto a Cinque in C minor, a Concerto in C minor and the adaptation of the Concerto grosso Op.3 No.3 for oboe and strings.
- Excellent performances by Andrius Puskunigis and the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, following the principals of Historically Informed Performance Practice while playing modern instruments. Puskunigis’ earlier recording of Bach Oboe Concertos (BC 94991) and Telemann (BC 95379) received excellent reviews, praising his vitality, flexibility and “Spielfreude”.