Wolf-Ferrari’s Increasingly Popular Wind Concertinos

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This is the third recording of these charming Wolf-Ferrari works to come out in the past few years. It’s easy to understand why. The music falls gratefully on the ear, and there aren’t that many good concertos out there for oboe, English horn, and bassoon. Not all of these works are equally fine, however. The Idillio-concertino for oboe and orchestra is delightful, and so is the Suite-concertino for bassoon and orchestra. Each has four movements: a slowish introduction, a zippy scherzo, a lyrical slow movement, and a gracefully fluent finale. They were composed at about the same time too: 1932/33.

The Concertino for English horn, on the other hand, was composed in 1947, the year before the composer’s death. As befits the timbre of the instrument, this is a more elegiac piece, but at nearly 29 minutes you may well feel that it goes on a bit too long (despite having plenty of lovely ideas). These performances, though, are as fine as any in the catalog. Andrea Tenaglia, in particular, is a fine oboe soloist, with a sweet tone that captures the “idyllic” qualities of the music particularly well. Giuseppe Ciabocchi’s bassoon playing is admirable as well.

English hornist William Moriconi’s tone is remarkably vivid, aided by engineering that places him perhaps a bit too close to the microphones, capturing a healthy dose of clacking keys. The situation is exactly the same, however, with all other recordings of this music, and there’s no question at all that the Rome Symphony Orchestra under Francesco La Vecchia offers the best accompaniments on disc, unchallenging though they may be. In short, if you’re looking for these works, this disc is your best bet, on balance.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: No reference recording

    Idillio-concertino for Oboe & small orchestra; Concertino for Cor anglais & small orchestra; Suite-concertino for Bassoon & small orchestra

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