J.S. BACH: Concertos for Oboe and Oboe d’amore = Concerto in G Minor for Oboe, BWV 1056; Concerto for Oboe in F Major, BWV 1053; Concerto for Oboe in D Minor, BWV 1059; Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor, BWV 1060; Aria from Cantata No. 51 “Hochster, mache deine Guete” – Monica Huggett, violin/ Portland Baroque Orch./ Gonzalo X. Ruiz, oboe and cond. – Avie AV2324, 67:21 (11/1/14) [Distr. by Allegro] ****:
Argentine oboe virtuoso Gonzalo X. Ruiz (rec. 7-11 Oct. 2013) assembles his ensemble of original instruments at the St. Anne’s Chapel, Marylhurst University, Oregon, for these Bach offerings, played for the meditative devotion. Bach held a special affection for the oboe’s timbres, especially after it became pitched to the other instruments of his Coethen ensemble. Bach scored solo oboe parts for 220 solos in cantatas and instrumental pieces, which provide the actual texts for his transposed keyboard concertos. The A Major Concerto BWV 1055 lent itself to the oboe d’amore, whose limited range made its “reconstruction” to the original relatively easy for pianist-arranger and audio producer Gonzalo X. Ruiz.
Twice we hear the lovely arioso movement from the F Minor Klavier Concerto, once from a cantata as incorporated into the Oboe Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059 and from the Largo of the BWV 1056. Those who relish the oboe when played with formidable precision in an intimate setting will embrace this disc as a labor of love from Ruiz. In his accompanying note, he mentions the technical challenges presented by the D Minor reconstruction – based on a nine-bar concerto fragment for its middle movement – and the infrequency of the music in performance. The lovely C Minor Concerto for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060 exploits the tessitura of both instruments, and Ruiz and violin Monica Huggett collaborate masterfully, given the “pinched” sound of original instruments.