Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto; Serenade in E flat major; Sonatina No 2 in E flat major

Reviewed on Mon 20 Nov, 2017

Alexei Ogrintchouk directs from the oboe in the two Wind Serenades, the First youthful but precocious, the Second, 'Fröhliche Werkstatt', more substantial and contemporaneous with the concerto

Russian oboist Alexei Ogrintchouk already has an impressive discography of Baroque and Classical concertos, to which this Strauss is a welcome addition. Ogrintchouk has a distinctive tone, quite nasal and focussed, but lyrical and flowing too. That, combined with his masterful and nuanced phrasing, makes for an ideal rendition of the Strauss Concerto, an autumnal masterpiece as plaintive and soulful as the Metamorphosis and the Four Last Songs. Andris Nelsons conducts a chamber-sized Concertgebouw with equal sensitivity and elegance, and the orchestra is on top form throughout. Ogrintchouk directs from the oboe in the two Wind Serenades, the First youthful but precocious, the Second, “Fröhliche Werkstatt,” more substantial and contemporaneous with the concerto. The oboe doesn’t stand out here, but all of the Concertgebouw winds prove equal to the often virtuosic demands, while maintaining a valuable lightness of tone. Excellent audio and generous running time complete a very attractive package.
–Gavin Dixon