I received this CD directly from one of the featured soloists, gratis, in consideration for a review. Urtext is a Mexican label and this concert features a Mexican oboist, an American clarinetist who lives in Mexico, and a Mexican conductor and orchestra (based in Mexico City). All of whom are completely unknown to me. It offers us three concertos - one each for clarinet and oboe, and a double concerto for both, which is dedicated to the soloists on this recording.
I enjoyed this disc. But I must start with a minor caveat regarding the programming. I wish the two concertos by Classical composer Antonio Rosetti (1750-1792) had come first, rather than following the much more modern, richly Romantic, gorgeously orchestrated Double Concerto by Eduardo Alonso-Crespo (b.1956). This later work is so exquisitely colorful, joyful, playful and sparkling - and so thoroughly enjoyable, the very strict, traditionally Classical Rosetti items, coming immediately after it, come off as sounding rather stiff and serious.
That being said, listening to this CD on a different day, beginning with the Rosettis, I enjoyed them more. Rosetti is an almost exact contemporary of Mozart, but one would never mistake these concertos as being in the same league as Mozart or Haydn. They tend to favor scales and arpeggios over true melodic invention. However, this CD is valuable for bringing a welcome change from the usual recordings of Mozart's concertos for these instruments. And certainly, these soloists are committed advocates, making the most of these pieces.
Coming back to the Double Concerto which begins this program, we discover the real treasure of this disc. Alonso-Crespo has a real gift for melodic lines and command of orchestration. There is an appealing sense of joy which brought many smiles along the way. The outer movements are playful and dancing with life, while the central Gymnopedie is richly expressive. The soloists are clearly enjoying the bright and sunny atmosphere, playing with appealing musicianship. But it's the orchestration which impresses most, with gorgeous string writing and sparkling details running through the orchestra. The Camerata de las Americas, and their conductor Ludwig Carrasco, really know this music and bring an obvious love and involvement to it.
The recording from Urtext is excellent, fully portraying the richness and color of the score. It is recorded within a beautiful acoustic which allows the strings to shimmer and inner details to titillate. It also provides a presence and focus which is most realistic - portraying the orchestra in a believable, 3-dimensional setting. The soloists are clearly outlined, but never unnaturally spotlit. For the Rosetti concertos, the sound is clean, clear and articulate.
Finally, the entire production is thoroughly first class. I was most impressed with the beautiful, glossy booklet - complete with high-quality, imaginatively captured pictures, and lots of information about the composers, the music, the soloists and the conductor. (Only the orchestra was slighted, with no bio included).
One simply does not encounter this level of quality and creativity from most record labels. This one is rewarding, not only for the unusual repertoire, but specifically for the glorious concerto by Alonso-Crespo.