Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Alessandro Marcello, Oboe concerto in D minor

Let me start off by saying that I am no expert in classical music, but when something strikes my fancy, I have a proper appreciation for it. The oboe concerto in D minor by Alessandro Marcello is such a case. Let us take a look, or rather a hear, at this sublime work by a musical dilettante from Venice.

Not being knowledgeable about classical music, I first discovered this in a film from 1970, called Anonimo veneziano. The excellent screenplay was in turn based on a novel by the interesting author Giuseppe Berto.

In the movie, American actor Tony Musante plays a dying musician in Venice who is momentarily reunited with his estranged wife, played by the lovely Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan. The final scene has said musician recording the concerto in what seems to be a deconsecrated church. It is the last time they will ever see each other.

The name of the movie is Anonimo veneziano, due to the fact that works of art that are difficult to attribute are often given a generic name such as this. Of course the name also applies poignantly to the musician in the movie who has not lived up to to his potential. Which is a condition true of most of us.

Alessandro Marcello was indeed a gifted amateur and polymath, a Venetian aristocrat whose brother Benedetto was also a composer. His talent was confirmed by the transcription of the concerto for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Both the concerto and the film are highly recommended, but the film will be hard to come by.