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If ever Vivaldi seems repetitive and tiresome, it is as well to remember how greatly Bach admired him, to the extent of transcribing for his own use a good few of the concertos. Nonetheless, a movement such as the Largo in the B flat concerto can only amaze with its expressiveness and power. Minor keys never fail to evoke the best from Vivaldi's muse [listen -- track 17, 0:00-1:12]. Here the Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia under Béla Drahos give of their best, responding to Vivaldi's inspiration with a tender understanding that cannot fail to move. Yet throughout its history the bassoon has also had a strong sense of humour, of which Vivaldi was also keenly aware when making this instrument cavort over gigantic leaps or deliver notes in explosive repetition with the velocity of a machine-gun. The first seven concertos in the Naxos series are an unqualified joy, and my faith in Vivaldi is such I'm prepared to wager they have not been specially selected. An appropriate envoi can be the bubbling wit that launches the G major concerto with a sequence of slithering scales guaranteed to make a cat laugh [listen -- track 19, 0:00-1:02].

Copyright © 10 December 2003 Robert Anderson, London UK


Vivaldi Complete Bassoon Concertos 1

8.555937 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 61'32" 2003 HNH International Ltd (Naxos)

Tamás Benkócs, bassoon; Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia; Béla Drahos, conductor

Concerto in C RV476; Concerto in F RV487; Concerto in C RV471; Concerto in A minor RV 498; Concerto in C minor RV480; Concerto in B flat RV503; Concerto in G RV493


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