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Golden tone

KEITH BRAMICH listens to the
bassoon virtuoso Gwydion Brooke

Ensemble    EML031

Gwydion Brooke (c) 2000 FRC

British bassoonist Gwydion Brooke was born in 1912, son of the composer Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958). Gwydion's professional career began with the London Philharmonic from 1932 for four years. He fought in the Artillery in Italy and North Africa in World War Two, then spent fourteen years with the Royal Philharmonic as a member of Beecham's 'Royal Family', and then eighteen years with the Philharmonia, giving over sixty solo performances. His career ended abruptly in 1979. His bassoon had been stolen from his home ... or had it? Read Bill Newman's entertaining account of a recent meeting with the ninety-year-old Brooke for a slightly different story.

The recordings on this Ensemble Music Label CD have been mastered from analogue tapes by Mike Skeet, who gets a clean transfer. They reveal Brooke's wonderful golden tone, and his nimble, flawless technique, as Raymond Cohen directs an un-named orchestra in the Bassoon Concerto in B flat by the English (J C) Bach.

Next comes a real novelty -- the nineteen year-old Mozart's Violin Concerto in G major K216 (1775). Brooke plays the solo part on his bassoon, of course [listen -- track 6, 3:10-4:12], and it really does sound as if the music was written for the instrument. Emanuel Hurwitz directs the Serenata of London.

Just as magical in chamber music, Brooke is joined by the Delmé Trio for the Quartet in C Op 79 by François Devienne, a French flautist, bassoonist, composer of twelve operas and Paris Conservatoire Professor and by pianist Graham Johnson for the Sonata in B flat [listen -- track 10, 5:45-6:53] by Czech composer Anton Reicha.

What a shame that Gwydion Brooke stopping playing in 1979, whatever the real reason! And there could be more bad news ... EML 031 isn't available through normal channels, and doesn't seem to be mentioned on the Ensemble Music Label website (part of the British Music Label website). Maybe if enough of us write to Mike Skeet though ...

Copyright © 14 September 2002 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


Gwydion Brooke

EML031 ADD Stereo REISSUE 72'14" 2000 F R C

Gwydion Brooke, bassoon; Un-named orchestra; Raymond Cohen, director; Serenata of London; Emanuel Hurwitz, director; The Delmé Trio (Galina Solodchin, violin, John Underwood, viola, Joy Hall, cello); Graham Johnson, piano

J C Bach: Concerto in B flat for Bassoon and Orchestra; W A Mozart: Concerto in G major for (Violin) and Orchestra K216; François Devienne: Quartet in C Op 73; Anton Reicha: Sonata in B flat



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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews