W.A.Mozart, OBOENSPITZE vol. 1
July-August 2009, "American Record Guide" magazine
This is the fourth release in six months with oboist Alexei Utkin and the Hermitage Chamber Orchestra. Each recording has presented different styles of music, revealing how versatile these musicians are. From Strauss to Shostakovitch and JS Bach to these Mozart works, Utkin and the orchestra have demonstrated their understanding and maturity.
On this program are two transcriptions - the Quintet in G minor, originally for two violins, two violas, and cello; and the Andante in B-flat for flute and orchestra. The last work is the Concerto in C.
Everything about Utkin's playing is enjoyable for the listener. His tone is pure and his phrasing is natural. His technique flawless and his articulations are c1ear and decisive, but not aggressive. The orchestra plays with equal care. The performance of the concerto is on par with the greats. As for the transcriptions, Utkin is also making his mark. He has a sense for what pieces in other instruments' literature will be suitable for the oboe; not one of the transcriptions or arrangements I have heard him play is awkward or contrived.
This is a wonderful program, and the performances are inspired. This should be added to anyone's collection.