ITALIAN OBOE CONCERTOS
Domenico Cimarosa (1749 - 1801)
(arr. Arthur Benjamin)
Oboe Concerto in C major
Vincenzo Bellini (1801 -1835)
Oboe Concerto in E flatmajor
Vincenzo Righini (1756 -1812)
Oboe Concerto in C major
Federigo Fiorillo (1755- after 1823)
Sinfonia Concertante inF major
Arcangelo Corelli (1653- 1713)
(arr. John Barbirolli)
Oboe Concerto in A major
John Barbirolli (1899 - 1970)
Concerto in C minor on Themes of Pergolesi
Domenico Cimarosa,born in 1749, enjoyed a contemporary reputation particularly in the field of Italiancomic opera. In 1942 the Australian-born composer Arthur Benjamin was able todraw on Cimarosa's keyboard sonatas to provide an attractive oboe concerto, awork that broadly follows late Baroque rather than classical practice, althoughCimarosa himself was at the height of his reputation towards the end of theeighteenth century. A moving Introduzione leads to a sprightly Allegroand a Siciliana, the gentle Baroque pastoral dance, as a slow movement.
The finalAllegro giusto makes a cheerful conclusion.
Vincenzo Belliniis better known as a composer of operas than of instrumental works. He won hisfirst significant operatic success in 1827 with his third opera, II pirata. Sevenmore operas were to follow before his death in Paris in 1835 atthe age of 33. His delightful Oboe Concerto in E flat major was written,as were his other orchestral works, before 1825, while he was still a studentat the Naples Conservatory. The solo instrument enters after the shortest ofdramatic introductions with a melody of operatic suggestion, a foretaste ofBellini's later lyrical achievement. The aria leads directly to a livelyconclusion, dominated by its lively principal theme, which frames a series ofcontrasting episodes.
The so-calledIdomeneus-Concerto takes its name from the accident that it was writtento provide additional music for a staging in 1806 at the Royal National Theatrein Berlin of Mozart's opera Idomeneo, Re di Creta. For the occasionthere were inserted numbers by Paer, Bernhard Anselm Weber and Vincenzo Righini,the last the Kapellmeister of the Berlin theatre since 1793. TheBerlin Italian opera was closed in 1806 as a result of the war, but openedagain, under Righini, in 1811. Righini's concerto was added to the firstmovement chorus of Idomeneo, Godiam la pace, a very relevant sentimentin the prevailing circumstances. The work has survived in a Berlin copy of theperforming score of Idomeneo. The soloist in the little concerto in Berlin was the oboistof the Berlin Royal Orchestra, Friedrich Westenho1z, whose playing was much admired.
The name of FederigoFiorillo is all too well known to violinists, nurtured still on his 36 Capricesfor their instrument. Born in Brunswick in 1755, the son of anItalian opera composer, he made his earlier career as a player of the mandolin,before adding performance on the violin to his range of concert activity whichtook him to St Petersburg,to Paris and forthree years to Riga as music director. He served as violist in salomon'squartet in London, where he moved in 1788, and played in the Haydn concertsduring the latter's first London visit, but seems to have retired relativelyearly from concert performance. His death, probably in London, occurredsome time after 1823, when he is said to have visited Paris. A prolificcomposer, he wrote a number of orchestral works for groups of solo instruments,including the present Sinfonia Concertante for two oboes. This opens intrue classical style, before the entry of the solo instruments, and continuesto allow the solo instruments the necessary prominence in movements rich enoughin melodic invention, charm and interest.
Sir JohnBarbirolli, legendary conductor of the Manchester Halle Orchestra from 1943 andconductor laureate for life from 1968, in 1939 married the oboist Evelyn Rothwell.
It is to this that we owe the two concertos for oboe, arranged by Barbirollifrom work by Corelli and by Pergolesi. The first of these is based on movementsby Corelli, the violinist-composer who, more than any other musician of histime, established the form of the Baroque concerto grosso, solo violin sonataand trio sonata, a model for later composers. The arranged work is in the formof a concerto da camera, a set of dance movements, preceded by a Preludio.
The pattern chosen follows that often favoured by Corelli, with arelatively lively Allemanda and a slow sarabanda, in which Barbirolli'sown instrument, the cello, has its own statement to make. The concerto endswith a Gavotte and a final Giga.
Giovanni BattistaPergolesi was born in 1710 and died in 1736 at the age of twenty-six. Theshortness of his life and the posthumous popularity of his music led to a hostof attributions, as others sought to make use of his name. Prompted by Dyagilev,Stravinsky made use of music attributed to Pergolesi but much of it by othercomposers in his ballet Pulcinella, from which came his later Suite Italienne.
Barbirolli similarly derived from music credited to Pergolesi afour-movement concerto for oboe very much in the style of the earliereighteenth century .Of the material used, the thematic basis of the thirdmovement Andantino will be particularly familiar to singers, although itis now attributed to other composers, contemporary with Pergolesi.