Pro Contra!: Works for Bassoon & Contrabassoon | Challenge Classics CC72733

Pro Contra!: Works for Bassoon & Contrabassoon

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Label: Challenge Classics

Cat No: CC72733

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 10th June 2016

Contents

Artists

Simon Van Holen (bassoon, contrabassoon)
Sylvia Huang (violin)
Mirelys Morgan Verdecia (violin)
Frederik Boits (viola)
Martina Forni (viola)
Honorine Schaeffer (cello)
Pierre-Emmanuel de Maistre (double bass)

Works

Francaix, Jean

Divertissement for bassoon and string quintet

Krommer, Franz

Quartet in B flat major for Bassoon, 2 Violas and Cello, op.46 no.1

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Sonata in B flat major for bassoon and cello, K292

Olthuis, Kees

Concertino for contrabassoon and string quintet

Schulhoff, Erwin

Bassnachtigall

Artists

Simon Van Holen (bassoon, contrabassoon)
Sylvia Huang (violin)
Mirelys Morgan Verdecia (violin)
Frederik Boits (viola)
Martina Forni (viola)
Honorine Schaeffer (cello)
Pierre-Emmanuel de Maistre (double bass)

About

An unusual disc devoted to the bassoon and contrabassoon, ‘Pro Contra!’ features beautiful music by Mozart, Kees Olthuis, Franz Krommer, Erwin Schulhoff and Jean Françaix, performed by Belgian Simon van Holen, contrabassoonist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Van Holen, a world-beater for sheer virtuosity and singing ability on his instruments, is accompanied on this stunning - and maybe to some listeners unexpectedly enjoyable - recording by string players, also from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Even following the instrument’s wave of emancipation last century, the very first composition ever published for solo contrabassoon, Bassnachtigall (1922) by Erwin Schulhoff, is still something of a rarity, and sounds serious and droll at the same time. It takes the merest whiff of the frivolous elegance in Mozart’s Sonata, K292 to be enchanted by how the composer allows the bassoon to sing. The Divertissement for bassoon and string quintet (1942) by Jean Françaix is a telling example of French ‘joie de vivre’: lively, whimsical, waspish and brimming with rhythmic subtleties. The Quartet, op.46 no.1 (1804) by Franz Krommer is a gallant and dashing work with a contrasting touch of melancholy in its andante.

Recognized for his versatility and expressive sound, Simon Van Holen has performed worldwide as a soloist, chamber and orchestral player. Trained at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he completed his studies in 2010 at the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf. A former member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. In 2013, Simon Van Holen was awarded the Royal Concertgebouw’s ‘Prix de Salon’ which made it possible to commission the Concertino for contrabassoon and string quintet by Dutch composer Kees Olthuis recorded here.

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