STRAUSS: Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3 (trans. for oboe and orchestra). Romanze. (trans. for oboe and small orchestra). Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4 (trans. for oboe and orchestra)Oboe Concerto in D. Prelude to Capriccio, Op. 85.
Alexei Utkin, oboe/Hermitage Chamber Orchestra
CARO MITIS SACD 62005 (F) TT: 49:30
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PLATTI: Oboe Concerto in G minor. Harpsichord Concerto in D. Violin Concerto in A. Cello Concerto in G minor. Trio Sonata in B flat for violin, cello and basso continuo.
Pratum Integrum Orch/Alfredo Bernardini, cond.
CARO MITIS SACD 52006 (F) TT: 69:39
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REBEL: Caprice. Les élémens. Boutade. Les plaisirs champetres. Les caractères de la danse, fantaisie. Fantaisie.
Pratum Integrum Orchestra (on period instruments)
CARO MITIS SACD 52005 (F) TT: 60:00
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TELEMANN: Orchestral Suite in B flat for two oboes, bassoon, strings and basso continuo. Concerto Grosso in G minor for two violins, cello, strings and basso continuo. Concerto in E for flute and strings and basso continuo. Concerto in G for violin, strings and basso continuo. Concerto grosso inG for two flutes, bassoon, strings and basso continuo. Sonata in G minor for two violoins, two violas, cello and basso continuo.
Pratum Integrum Orchestra (on period instruments)
CARO MITIS SACD 32005 (F) TT: 67:52
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This is a lovely set of SACDs from a new label—Caro Mitis, which has definite ties with the current Russian music scene. These recordings were made 2005-2006 in Russian studios. The company obviously has high standards––virtuoso performances, and the highest quality surround sound, although there is limited directionality except left/right. The idea of a CD of what Caro Mitis calls "delicate Strauss" is appealing although there isn't very much he wrote that fits that description. Even with the addition of two songs (Meinem Kinde/Morgen!) arranged by Mikhail Utkin for oboe and small orchestra, the playing time of this SACD is only 49:30. Oboist Alexei Utkin performed with Moscow Virtuosi until 2000 when he formed the Hermitage Chamber Orchestra heard on the Strauss recording. The other three CDs are performed by Pratum Integrum Orchestra ("unmown meadow"), founded in 2003, the only Russian orchestra specializing in early music played on period instruments. All players in both ensembles are superb and complete information about their instruments is provided. Another CD resurrects music of Giovanni Benedetto Platti (ca. 1697-1763) offering four concertos for various instruments plus a trio sonata. There's more substance in the CD of music of Telemann which includes four world premiere recordings, and the final disk is devoted to dance music by Jean-Féry Rebel including his best-known work, Les éléments. All of these SACDs are highly recommended on all counts, but it's unfortunate the price is ultra-premium. For many early music collectors, they might be worth it.

R.E.B. (September 2008)

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