Oboe Concerto

Antonio Vivaldi

Oboe Concerto in C major


About this work

Although far from a concert staple, this is one of Vivaldi's more often encountered oboe concertos. It is certainly one of his more substantial in both scope and length, having a duration of around 14 or 15 minutes compared to the eight- or ten-minute spans of most of his other oboe concertos. It is cast in the usual three movements, framing a four-minute or so Larghetto central movement with two outer, five-minute panels. The first movement is marked Allegro non molto and opens with a leisurely paced ritornello, after which the oboe presents a whimsical theme that seems to want to playfully swoop down. The soloist then breaks out a lively variant of this theme in notes that breathlessly race about and in subtly nuanced dynamics. Themes are developed with imagination and the oboe writing is masterful and virtuosic throughout. The ensuing Larghetto is lovely in its sweet melancholy, the oboe sounding gently forlorn and mournful in its touching lyricism. The finale is a graceful minuet with a substantial ritornello framing some brilliant solo work by the oboe.