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V 1: Concerti Per Fagotto
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See all 21 tracks on this disc
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This CD, VIVALDI: CONCERTI PER FAGOTTO I is fascinating on every level, form the creative cover photograph to the selection of some of the nineteen bassoon concerti the master wrote. The soloist here is Sergio Azzolini, born in 1967 in Bolzano where he studied the bassoon from 1978 to 1985 at the Claudio Monteverdi Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Romano Santi. This young soloist and conductor understand the spectrum of bassoon possibilities as well as any performer of this difficult instrument today. He is joined for this recording by the L'Aura Soave Cremona as conducted by Diego Canalupi and the work of all concerned, including the engineers of this album, is of the highest order.
Azzolini makes the largo and andante passages of these concerti as rich as cream and then moves in to the rapid movements with such agility that his technique is staggering. One would think that a CD of solely Bassoon concerti would begin to sound too similar, but it is to the credit of Vivaldi (and with the fine interpretations by Azzolini et al) that the recital remains wholly refreshing. This is a CD to cherish on every level - a testament to the genius of Antonio Vivaldi. Grady Harp, February 11
I've already reviewed Volume 2 of this "complete" recording project: Concerti Per Fagotto II
Ensemble L'Aura Soave Cremona, directed by Diego Cantalupi, performs Vivaldi with an audacity and exuberance that may well startle listeners accustomed to earlier, more moderate interpretations. This is Vivaldi with his red hair flying loose. The tempi are assertive and irregular, with the grandest possible emphasis of cadences and cadential silences. The basso continuo for this performance was formidably "basso", with two cellos, contrabass, two arch-lutes, and organ; the whole orchestration is deepened in tessitura so that the bassoon can in effect sing treble. The result is an integration of solo and tutti unlike any other recorded performance of any of the Vivaldi wind concerti. If your ingrained perception of Vivaldi is of a composer of jaunty 'elevator music, you'll quickly discover that you were all wrong. Vivaldi was big. Vivaldi was bold.
One warning, however. This recording has been engineered to reveal the richest timbres of the bass instruments. The lower range of sounds is so dense with frequencies that you must play the CD on a system with adequate speakers and preferably with a good sub-woofer. If you listen to it on bookshelf speakers, or on a mediocre system, I fear you'll be dissatisfied; all you'll hear will be rumble and distortion, and you'll wonder whether "your humble reviewer" has lost his ear.
But wait! What about the other eleven finest bassoon concerti? How about: Reichenauer, Michael Haydn, JC Bach, Mozart, Stamitz, Hummel, Weber, Villa-Lobos, Hindemith, Jolivet, & Gubaidulina.
The bassoon concertos have escaped the period instrument boom (recordings) for the most part. They may put in one or two here and there. But most of the bassoon concertos were done on modern instruments for the most part, see Naxos under Vivaldi and bassoon.
Naive have released two full discs for bassoon and one with mixed bassoon and oboe concertos. The first disc has nicely selected, though my favorite concerto (RV 483) is actually on disc II.
Tempi are neither too fast or dragging slow in the largos and andates. The string are played well, a sort of conversation between the strings and bassoon. The disc of Concerti per archi (ripieni concertos) also shows how the string parts here are made. That is, the string parts are not for solo violin here.
I have heard recordings of these concertos for 30 years, and we are finally getting very close to how they were intended to be played.