Mozart Contemporaries: 18th-Century Music for Bassoon | Brilliant Classics 96020

Mozart Contemporaries: 18th-Century Music for Bassoon

£6.26

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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 96020

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 19th February 2021

Contents

About

The starting-point for this unique recital is a true Mozart rarity, the Sonata for bassoon and cello, K292, which Mozart wrote in 1775, pairing the bass members of string and wind families not to comic effect but rather demonstrating their expressive versatility and contrasting tone-colours, in the hands of sufficiently practised performers; the Sonata is accessible by only the most skilled amateur performers such as its original dedicatee, the nobleman, pianist and occasional bassoonist Thaddäus Wolfgang von Dürnitz.

The count’s considerable musical gifts may be judged from the teenaged Mozart’s dedication of the Piano Sonata, K284, in the same year: one of the composer’s first works of absolute genius, notably in the extraordinary landscape of its long theme-and-variation finale. The bassoon-and-cello sonata may not rival K284 for lightly worn profundity, but in its Andante we may still hear the teenaged composer attaining an idiom of sublime gravity which anticipates masterpieces such as the Sinfonia Concertante, K364.

Rarer still on disc is the creative output of Dürnitz himself, represented here by four sonatas for bassoon and keyboard from a collection of six. He evidently cultivated a particular facility at the top of the intrument’s range (famously exploited by Stravinsky to open Le Sacre du printemps), notably in the elegiac introduction to Sonata no.3. Dürnitz was no dilettante musician, to judge from his ready assimilation of Classical-era convention and the kind of virtuoso writing in the quick movements that challenges conceptions of the bassoon as a sturdy accompaniment to more agile musical companions.

Between these two composers in the register of fame falls the French composer François Devienne, four years younger than Mozart and author of six Duos Concertants, op.3, for two bassoons in around 1782; Carmen Mainer Martín presents two of them here, with the second part arranged for cello in the same disposition as Mozart’s sonata. This is her second album on Brilliant Classics; the first (95761), also accompanied by Enrique Escartín Ara, attracted praise in the Spanish press and beyond: ‘Her approach vindicates the prominence of the bassoon as a chamber music instrument, as a performer of outstanding technical mastery and a formidable tone-colourist, from the romantic density in the middle register to sounds typical of contemporary articulation in the high register’ (Melómano Digital).

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