Those lucky enough to see and hear the Royal Concertgebouw in Sydney at the end of this year should pay particular attention when the oboe sounds the A for the big tune-up. The man producing that note will be Alexei Ogrintchouk. It might be his only solo moment for the evening, but make no mistake: this is no ordinary oboist.
The 27-year-old Russian virtuoso has been steadily building an outstanding reputation as one of the leading exponents of the instrument over the past eight years with a notable series of concerts and recordings, the latest of which is this exuberant triptych of works by Mozart at his most irresistible.
The centerpiece, of course, is the concerto Mozart dedicated to his friend Friedrich Ramm, oboist with the leading orchestra of his day in Mannheim, but equally delightful is the charming and engaging quartet the composer wrote for Ramm later on.
Ogrintchouk is joined by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in this recording on the prestige Swedish label BIS. It’s a work where Mozart is bursting with ideas – especially in the final movement where you can almost sense the composer’s excitement about his new creation.
Ogrintchouk’s technique and phrasing is matchless throughout these three works. His beautiful tone is no better displayed than in the lovely K378 Sonata, which started life as a showcase for violin and piano. The oboist’s father Leonid joins him for this lovely work where the soloist’s technique is put to a severe test.
Having worked his way up the ladder with the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev before joining Mariss Jansons and the Concertgebouw, Ogrintchouk’s solo career now makes him the oboist of choice for all the world’s leading orchestras. It’s just a shame Sydney audiences won’t hear more of him on this trip.