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An Unexpected Pleasure

Wind concertos by
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari -
enjoyed by

'Strongly recommended ...'

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari: Complete Wind Concertos. © 2007 CPO

What an unexpected pleasure! Since neither the composer nor the performers are household names, this one could easily slip by. Don't let it if you enjoy well-played melodic concertos.

Wolf-Ferrari was born in Venice in 1876 and achieved considerable success in the early 20th century as a composer of Italian and German comic operas. Though influenced by the chromaticism of Wagner, Wolf-Ferrari wasn't a part of the fashionable trends best represented by Schoenberg and Webern, and so was criticized as hopelessly simplistic. His fame was short-lived and his works are seldom performed. Given the recent backlash against complexity it's time for a reappraisal of him and others whose primary objective was pleasing audiences rather than blasting new paths.

While I can still imagine critics protesting the lack of depth in these concertos (they owe little to even Wagner), I can more clearly see listeners smiling at their innocent and good-natured tunes. This is from the amiable beginning of the oboe concerto.

Listen -- Preambola (Idilio-Concertino) (track 1, 0:04-0:56)
© 2007 CPO

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Copyright © 6 April 2008 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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