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8.554772 - Italian Oboe Concertos, Vol. 2
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Giovanni Platti (before 1692-1763)

Concerto in G minor for oboe, strings and continuo

[1] Allegro

[2] Largo

[3] Allegro

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)

Concerto in C major for flute, oboe and orchestra

[4] Allegro spirituoso

[5] Largo

[6] Allegretto

Carlo Besozzi (1738- after 1798)

Concerto No.1 in C major for oboe and orchestra

[7] Allegro

[8] Andante

[9] Allegretto

Francesco Antonio Rosetti (c1750-1792)

[10] Rondo in F major


Giovanni Platti (before 1692-1763)

Oboe Concerto in G minor

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)

Concerto in C major for flute and oboe

Carlo Besozzi (1738- after 1798)

Oboe Concerto in C major

Francesco Antonio Rosetti (c1750-1792)

Giovanni Benedetto Platti seems to have been born in Padua or Venice some time before 1692. His presence in Venice as a musician is recorded in 1711 and his father Carlo Platti served as a musician in the musical establishment of the Basilica of San Marco as a player of the violetta, an instrument variously identified as a viola, violin or treble viol. In 1722 Giovanni Platti was one of a group of musicians led by Fortunato Chelleri, a musician of German paternity, who had been appointed Hofkapellmeister to the Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn at Würzburg and the following year Platti married a singer in the court musical establishment, future mother of his eight children. Platti, recognised as a virtuoso oboist, was employed as a player of a wide variety of instruments, including also the violin, cello, flute and harpsichord. With the death of the ruler in 1724, the musical establishment was apparently dissolved by his successor, Christoph von Hutten, although Philipp Franz’s brother, Count Rudolf Franz Erwein, employed the Würzburg court musicians at his residence in Wiesentheid. The Hofkapelle was revived in 1729 in more magnificent form under the Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl, with some 46 musicians, among whom was Platti, so employed until his death in 1763, his likeness preserved in a fresco for the episcopal Residence by the painter Tiepolo.

Versatile as a composer, Platti left church music, harpsichord sonatas and concertos, cello concertos and sonatas and a variety of other instrumental music, in much of this representing the transition from the baroque to the classical. His Oboe Concerto in G minor starts with a lively orchestral ritornello, leading to the entry of the oboe with an elaboration of the same material, which is passed from soloist to orchestra in continuing alternation. The orchestra provides an introductory foretaste of the moving D minor oboe aria that forms the slow movement. This is followed by a movement that brings a surprise in a sudden pause before the orchestra provides a further brief introduction to the solo entry, a break in the flow of the music that recurs before the last orchestral phrase. The thematic material provides the basis for modulation and elaboration in music that suggests that Platti has been seriously undervalued by following generations.

The reputation of Antonio Salieri has suffered through the suggestions of jealousy and even complicity in the death of Mozart, a subject treated by Pushkin and then in Peter Shaffer’s study of jealousy, Amadeus. Born in Legnago in 1750, he had a sound musical training there and in Venice, before being taken in 1766 to Vienna by the Bohemian composer Florian Gassmann, successor to Gluck in Vienna as a composer of ballet and opera. Salieri’s musical education continued under Gassmann, leading to a meeting with the court poet Metastasio and in 1769 with Gluck, and to a career that at first centred on opera. On Gassmann’s death in 1774 Salieri was appointed his successor as conductor and composer for the Italian opera and in 1788 he became Hofkapellmeister. In the 1780s he had won particular success in Paris with his operas, at a time when he also enjoyed the highest favour in Vienna. The following decade, however, brought a change of patron, with the death of Joseph II, and his resignation from his position with the Italian opera. He continued to write for the theatre until 1804, and remained Hofkapellmeister until 1824, the year before his death. His influence as a teacher was considerable and he was generous with the time he gave to the training of younger musicians, with pupils who included Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Mozart’s younger surviving son, Franz Xaver Wolfgang.

Salieri was prolific as a composer. In addition to some 45 operas, he wrote a quantity of church music and secular vocal music, with orchestral and chamber compositions. His Concerto in C major for flute and oboe was written in 1774 and scored for an orchestra that includes bassoons, horns and trumpets, in addition to the usual strings, although the wind instruments may easily be omitted, since their function is largely to double other parts or add sustaining notes to the harmony. The orchestral exposition leads to the entry of the two solo instruments and a following dialogue between them and a transition to a secondary theme. New material is introduced as the movement continues, leading to a written cadenza for the two solo instruments. The F major Largo is introduced by the orchestra, before the entry of the oboe, soon sharing material with the flute, leading again to a double cadenza. The final Rondo allows flute and oboe to announce the principal theme, serving to frame the following episode, the first primarily for the flute, the second, in C minor, allowing the flute to repeat each section after the oboe, and the third offering closely interwoven writing for the solo instruments. Unusual use is made of divided violas in the final statement of the main theme, before the brief coda.

The Besozzi family had a long history of involvement in music in Italy, from the singer and opera composer Alessandro Besozzi in the late seventeenth century to later generations of oboists, many of them in the service of the Duke of Parma, and descendants who made names for themselves in other musical spheres in nineteenth-century France. Carlo Besozzi was born in Dresden in 1738, the son of Antonio Besozzi, who had been appointed that year as first oboist of the Dresden court, after earlier employment in the service of the Duke of Parma, like his father and uncles, and at the court in Naples. Like other members of his family, Carlo Besozzi showed early prowess as an oboist and was employed at the court in Dresden from 1755 until 1792. In 1757 he appeared with his father at the Concert Spirituel in Paris and spent part of a year in Stuttgart, where his father had taken employment, before returning in 1759 to Dresden. In a letter of May 1778 to his wife and son in Paris, Leopold Mozart describes a visit Carlo Besozzi had paid to Salzburg, where he had played two of his own compositions. He found the style of composition slightly old-fashioned, but well worked out, rather in the style of Michael Haydn, but had nothing but praise for Besozzi’s performance, his breath control and ability to offer a crescendo and diminuendo on long sustained notes. Besozzi was visiting Salzburg on his way to Turin, to acquire rights of citizenship so that he could inherit from his uncles Alessandro and Paolo Girolamo, who had been members of the court music establishment there since 1731. Carlo Besozzi wrote two oboe concertos and two dozen wind sonatas. He was succeeded in Dresden by his son Francesco.

In conventional classical style, Besozzi’s Oboe Concerto No.1 in C major starts with an orchestral exposition, followed by the soloist’s exposition, in which use is made of the mezza voce, the element in Besozzi’s performance that Leopold Mozart liked least, and of the nuances of dynamics that he had found so pleasing. The movement contains a cadenza, duly followed by the orchestral coda. The following F major Andante is introduced by the orchestra, preparing for the entry of the soloist in music that allows a display of finely controlled sustained melody and dynamics, as Leopold Mozart had noted. The movement again includes a cadenza, in which the same qualities are even more clearly evident. The final Allegretto starts in fine style. The entry of the oboe introduces the principal theme, used to frame contrasting episodes, including an impressive passage in the minor and a slower section in which good use is made of nuanced sustained notes, before the return of the main theme, an exhibition of agile virtuosity and a cadenza of further display, followed by the final appearance of the principal theme.

The Bohemian composer and double bass player Francesco Antonio Rosetti was born in Litomice about the year 1750. His family name was Rösler and he was baptized Frantisek Antonín, in German Franz Anton. As a professional musician he adopted the Italian form of his name, changing Rösler to Rosetti, thus sharing a name with a number of other contemporary performers. He trained for the priesthood at a Jesuit seminary, but was released from his vows before ordination, turning instead to music, at first as a double bass player in the service of Kraft Ernst, Prince of Oettingen-Wallerstein. He was later appointed Kapellmeister. In 1789 he became Kapellmeister to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Ludwigslust, where the ducal court had established itself, leading a group of distinguished musicians. His style of writing owes much to the influence of Haydn and of Mozart, for whom he provided a setting of the Requiem, performed in Prague in 1791. His handling of wind instruments, exemplified in the present Rondo, in solo wind concertos and in compositions for wind ensemble, owes much to his experience at Wallerstein, with its very distinguished wind band.

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