This is the fourth release by the BBC Philharmonic under its Chief Conductor, Juanjo Mena, and the discography is going from strength to strength – their recording of orchestral works by Falla was ‘Recording on the Month’ in BBC Music. They are joined on this recording by the bassoonist Karen Geoghegan.
Stemming from the same fertile compositional period as the majority of his clarinet works, composer Carl Maria von Weber was also hard at work penning two symphonies (in fact, his only two forays into this genre) and his lone Concerto for bassoon and orchestra. Though written only a few short years after Beethoven's revolutionary Third Symphony, Weber seems little interested in innovation apart from his use of scherzos in place of minuets. Rather, these two early works are more Haydn-esque in their melodies and accompaniment, and Mozartian in their frequent use of wind concertante parts. (Mike D. Brownell)
It would be no exaggeration to name Antonio Vivaldi as the “pioneer of the bassoon concerto”. The first milestone in the emancipation of the bassoon, until the beginning of the 17 century exclusively used as a basso continuo instrument, for which the part wasn’t even written out, was a series of nine virtuoso bassoon sonatas published by Giovanni Antonio Bertoli in 1645.
The popular Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment presents a fantastic and exuberantly played selection of Vivaldi. Named a ‘Choice' recording by Gramophone upon release, the OAE joyfully celebrate some of Vivaldi's finest instrumental writing. The soloists are drawn from within the distinguished ranks of the OAE including Anthony Robson (oboe), Andrew Clark (horn), Roger Montgomery (horn), David Watkin (cello), Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and Catherine Mackintosh (viola). The concertos assembled on this disc afford the listener a glimpse of Vivaldi's originality, not only as a sensitive colourist and master of form, but also as a felicitous melodist whose harmonies and phraseology are charged with heady atmosphere. The dancing rhythms and distinctive characters of these concerti together with the variety of instrumental combinations and sparkling performances make this a fresh and constantly engaging listen.
As in the successful volumes 1-3 this is a very exciting recording, featuring the bassoon as you never heard before! The 54th release in the Vivaldi Edition features a selection of the finest works for bassoon ever composed, regardless of the instrument, this is a complete view of Vivaldi’s universe, performed by a true genius of baroque music. With each CD Azzolini proves himself to be an artist of endless immagination and virtuosity. With each new recording he surpasses the one before.
"…Azzolini is one of the most brilliant players of the baroque bassoon these days. It is telling that the previous two volumes with bassoon concertos were also performed by him, whereas in the series of discs with violin concertos the solo parts are allocated to various violinists. However, it is not just his virtuosity which is impressive. In the slow movements he shows his capabilities in the realm of expression. The ensemble L'Aura Soave Cremona operates on the same wavelength. In previous volumes I found their playing sometimes a bit abrasive, even aggressive. That isn't the case here. The contrasts in Vivaldi's concertos are emphasized through the choice of tempi: in the slow movements the tempi are usually very slow, and are performed with great intensity…" ~musicweb-international
Among his many famous and beloved concertos, Vivaldi wrote no fewer than twenty-seven for the cello an instrument that at the time was generally consigned to playing basso continuo. With the genuine virtuosi he had available to him at the Ospedale della Pietà, the Prete Rosso played a key role in the emancipation of the cello. On this new CD of Vivaldi concertos, acclaimed cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras is supported by the musicians of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in a fascinating program that is further enhanced by a selection of highly expressive Sinfonias by Antonio Caldara.
Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major for violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon, Hob. 1/105, is among his most recorded works, and among his most utterly joyful. But it has rarely reached the heights of ebullience achieved in this historical-instrument reading by the small British ensemble Arcangelo and its conductor, Jonathan Cohen. The list of things to be enthusiastic about is long, but it begins with the differentiation of the instruments in the solo passages, with the period oboe and bassoon of Alfredo Bernardini and Peter Whelan, respectively, having the depth of texture to stand up to the brilliant Stradivarius violin and Guarneri cello of Ilya Gringolts (a renowned soloist in his own right) and Nicolas Altstaedt.