(Click underlined movements to hear MP3 format sound clips.)
STEPHEN ROBBINGS (piano)
Allegro vivacissimo. You can see a YouTube video of this entire track here.
Grand Concerto on themes from I Vespri Siciliani by Verdi
Allegretto - Adagio - Piu mosso
Allegretto - Adagio - Allegro
Fantasia on themes from Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer
Andante - Allegretto - Adagio
Andantino - Allegro con fuoco
Concerto on themes from La Favorita by Donizetti
Andante - Allegro - Largo molto
Adagio - Theme and variations
Molto largo - cadenza - allegro velocissimo
Fantasia on themes from Poliuto by Donizetti
Maestoso - Largo - Allegretto
Adagio - Allegro - Moderato
The CD booklet contains a 2,000-word essay by Christopher Redgate on the music and life of Antonino Pasculli in English, Italian and German. The photos include two of Pasculli and one of his Triébert oboe.
Antonino Pasculli was born in 1842. The great violin virtuoso Paganini had died two years previously (also an Italian, a performer and a composer) and Franz Liszt was touring Europe as a dazzling virtuoso. Some have likened Pasculli to Paganini and perhaps for good reason; he must at least have known the reputation of these two giants.
But there were others. The concept of the performer/composer was very common in both the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of them wrote music for their own use, and often specifically to display their techniques. There were many fine oboist/composers during this period - Casimir Lalliet (1837-92) and Stanislas Verroust (1814-63) to name but two. What sets the music of Antonino Pasculli apart, however, is the extreme technical demands he makes upon the oboist (I know of nothing else from the 19th century repertoire to compare with the challenges he poses), and the creative ways in which he uses his chosen material. copyright Christopher Redgate 2003
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"This is a disc to open the ears of all oboists, and to entertain and astonish less specialist music-lovers." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine
"The enterprising new label Oboe Classics maintains its highest standards with a sample of the fiendishly difficult music written by Antonino Pasculli, the 19th-century composer-performer known as the 'Paganini of the Oboe'. Christopher Redgate needs all his considerable virtuosity to negotiate the fiendish challenges set by Pasculli on themes from Verdi, Meyerbeer and Donizetti, not to mention the 'characteristic study' Le Api (The Bees). This is fascinating music played with extreme panache." Anthony Holden, Observer
"Christopher Redgate is an oboist who thrives on technical demands, the more extreme the better, and his disc is a remarkable tour de force." Christopher Hooker, Double Reed News
"This is an incredible CD for everyone who enjoys brilliant performers and performances." Gary Higginson, Classical Music Web
"A display of astonishing technical mastery ... the lyrical episodes had a quality of special beauty" The Daily Telegraph
Christopher Redgate (left) studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won four prizes, along with another five international prizes after leaving. He has toured in Australia, the USA, Canada, China and almost every European country. His two specialities are 19th century virtuoso music and new music; a number of composers have written works for him, including Michael Finnissy, whose CD Lost Lands featuring Christopher is available on the Metier label. More details can be found on metierrecords.co.uk.
Stephen Robbings (piano) graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with first class honours and was awarded almost every prize for performance, culminating in the McFarren Medal, the Academy's highest award for pianists. As well as giving many concerto and recital performances in major venues throughout the UK, Stephen has given concerts and masterclasses in Europe, China and the USA. He has played for BBC Radio and Television and made numerous recordings as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. Stephen also works in the audio field as a sound engineer, editor and producer.