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)
Thirty-seven completed and two unfinished bassoon concertos, more than for any other instrument except the violin; Vivaldi must have had one terrific fagottista in that ospedale . Well, Sergio Azzolino is pretty good, too.
Michael Talbot’s sensible notes observe that the bassoon concertos seem to come from the latter part of Vivaldi’s career, though, as with much of Vivaldi’s work, exact dating is seldom possible. He attributes this to a void in Italy between the fading of the dulcian from the standard instrumental ensemble and the slow introduction there of the Franco-German bassoon.
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.