Concerto a cinque No. 5

Tomaso Albinoni

Concerto a cinque No. 5 in C major

Op. 7/6

About this work

The oboe concerto was a novelty when Albinoni wrote this work, and the composer seems to have had the trumpet in mind as he tried his hand at a reed concerto. It's in the trumpet-friendly key of D major, and the initial Allegro's theme is stately but strongly rhythmic, exactly the sort of thing that would have been assigned to the trumpet. The soloist here, though, is an oboe, and thematic elaborations that would sound heraldic on the lips of a trumpeter instead turn out to be merely perky and good-natured. As usual, Albinoni employs the same melodic material throughout the movement, the oboe presenting a series of imaginatively ornamented restatements of it.

The Adagio, in contrast, is intensely lyrical, a slow aria for oboe in Albinoni's vocal style. The soloist is clearly the dominant force here from the very beginning, with the orchestra relegated to a supporting role through the course of this slow, minor-mode movement.

Without a fully satisfying harmonic resolution, the Adagio leads into the final Allegro. This is another chipper, trumpet-worthy piece following Albinoni's customary pattern, with the orchestra introducing the theme, allowing the oboist to echo only its first phrase before interrupting with an abbreviated restatement, then turning direction of the movement over to the soloist for variation, butting in only for brief reminders of the basic theme.