Peter Whelan - The Proud Bassoon - Early Music Review

A wonderfully varied collection of sonatas which clearly show that the bassoon has a great deal more to offer than its contribution as a continuo instrument. The very comprehensive sleeve notes mention the difficulty that the bassoon had to establish its own personality because of the very different timbre in each register of its range, and this recording demonstrates how composers came to make the most of these differences which add interest and texture to the most simple line. Sonatas by Fasch, Telemann (both with a claim to being the first sonata to name the bassoon as the solo instrument) and Boismortier are performed alongside less familiar repertoire. The first three tracks are taken from Les Gentils Airs, an anthology of popular operatic tunes assembled by the Leclerc brothers and arranged for bassoon with keyboard accompaniment - very familiar melodies and wonderful to hear in this quirky arrangement. A sensitive rendition of Les goûts-réunis, ou Noveaux concerts: Treizième Concert ‘deux instruments à l'unisson' is given here an Irish air. Handel's first violinist. Matthew Dubourg, made arrangements of the air - Eileen Aroon - both for harpsichord and bassoon with continuo. The bassoon version is now missing, so this is Peter Whelan's own reconstruction made from Dubourg's harpsichord arrangement. Peter Whelan's playing is always a delight to hear - full of life, interest and variety, and clearly demonstrates why the bassoon has every right to be proud! 

11 April 2014