- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, Op. 8/12, RV 449
- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in D minor, Op. 8/9, RV 454
- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in A minor, RV 461
- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in C major, RV 451
- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in G minor, Op. 11/6, RV460
- Oboe Concerto, for oboe, strings & continuo in F major, RV 455
Among Vivaldi's gigantic production of concertos for nearly every instrument or instrumental combination he knew of were about 20 oboe concertos -- cutting-edge works for an instrument that was new in Vivaldi's time. The half-dozen pieces presented here by the historical-instrument Ensemble Respighi are idiomatic to the oboe even if some of them also exist in violin versions. They give the oboist a severe workout in their opening movements, most of all in the first movement of the "Concerto for oboe and strings in C major, RV 451." Equally striking is the pianissimo opening of the "Concerto for oboe and strings in F major, RV 455" (track 16), which in the words of annotator Giovanni Tasso "would seem to project Vivaldi into a future dimension"; it's one of those Vivaldi moments that takes the listener aback. The central slow movements (all the concertos have three movements) likewise challenge the player with long, wistful, cantabile lines that give the oboist precious little chance to grab a breath. The playing of Paolo Grazia on the oboe has control in reserve for anything Vivaldi can throw the soloist's way; his performances have elegance and beauty. The Ensemble Respighi's sound is smooth and rather bland, but it does put the focus where it belongs in these concertos: squarely on the soloist. The music is clearly recorded, not foreclosing an intimate sense of the oboe's difficulty but also not drowning the listener in the clacking of keys.