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Hard on the heels of the hugely influential Italian master we're treated to Paris-style gestures of composer, theorist, and soloist Garnier (1755-1825) with his five-movement concerto, written as classicism gave way to a more expressive, quasi-operatic, romantic imprint. In the final years of the 18th century, composer Ignaz Joseph Pleyel, published Garnier's popular, illustrated Méthode raisonnée pour le hautbois with its essays on reed-making, choice of an instrument, and matters of fingering.

The concerto proves a somewhat inconsequential work but it's pleasingly crafted nonetheless. In addition it has added piquancy with Gullickson's virtuoso advocacy [listen -- track 9, 1:47-2:37]. For purposes of this Cala recording it was reconstructed from the original, held in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

The CD sleeve gives Giuseppe Ferlendis' dates as 1785-1810. The true figures are 1755-1802. Ferlendis, now virtually forgotten, was held in such high regard that when appointed oboist at the Court Chapel of Salzburg (1777) his yearly court stipend, 540 florins, exceeded that of Mozart who at the time was getting 500 florins.

That aside, at the start of last century, his Concerto No 1 in F (circa 1777) [listen -- track 11, 1:13-2:05] was briefly attributed to Mozart, a suggestion finally dismissed on the basis of stylistic evidence.

By the time we're downstream as far as Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) the currents are flowing with ardent, nascent-operatic warmth and melody. His delectable Idillio-Concertino (1932) calls for a greater span of soul and wit than hitherto and Gullickson responds in kind while Matos and her players catch the changing moods to perfection.

These works become longer in duration with the passage of time and Wolf-Ferrari allows himself sufficient to muse on his themes, especially in the wistful and dramatic Puccini-esque Adagio [listen -- track 15, 0:00-1:32] and an insouciant final Rondo.

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Copyright © 2 January 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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