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Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760)
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in C (GWV 301) [11:15]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in c minor (GWV 307) [13:54]
Concerto for violin, strings and bc in A (GWV 337) [12:57]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in G (GWV 328) [08:19]
Concerto for chalumeau, bassoon, cello, strings and bc in C (GWV
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in B flat(GWV 340)
Christian Leitherer (chalumeau), Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Friedemann
Wezel (violin), Kristin Dom (cello)
Ensemble il capriccio/Friedemann Wezel
rec. 31 October-3 November 2007, Schüttbau, Rügheim, Germany. DDD
CARUS 83.443 [73:16]
We are in the middle of a true Graupner renaissance. In recent
years a number of recordings of his oeuvre have been released.
Last December a concert hall in Antwerp in Belgium organised
a Graupner festival, with a series of concerts in which several
of his compositions were performed. The immediate cause was
the commemoration of his death in 1760. That is probably also
the reason this disc of solo concertos was recorded in 2007
yet released only very recently.
So far it has been mainly Graupner's overtures which have received
attention. That is understandable as he was one of the most
prolific composers of overtures, second only to his friend Georg
Philipp Telemann. This reflects his personal liking of the French
style, and the preference for French music of his employer,
Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt. His solo concertos
have been largely neglected. The number of solo concertos is
limited in comparison to his overtures. He composed almost 100
in the latter genre, whereas only 18 solo concertos from his
pen are known. In addition there are 20 double concertos, 6
triple concertos and one concerto for four solo instruments.
The solo concerto was an Italian genre, and it seems that Graupner
started to become interested in this form around 1724 when he
began to collect and perform solo concertos by other composers.
Around 1730 he composed his first concertos.
The scoring reflects the availability of skilled players in
Darmstadt. Graupner's oeuvre contains four concertos for bassoon
- all of them recorded on this disc - which were inspired by
the presence of the bassoon virtuoso Johann Christian Klotsch,
who became a member of the court orchestra in 1735. The concertos
give a very good impression of his skills, as the solo parts
are virtuosic and explore the features of the instrument to
the full. Sergio Azzolini is the modern equivalent of Klotsch,
who makes his instrument speak and sing, cry and cheer, and
who masters the full tessitura and dynamic range of his instrument
with impressive ease. The Concerto for chalumeau, bassoon
and cello in C is a specimen of the genre of the triple
concerto which is also represented in the oeuvre of the likes
of Telemann and Bach. The combination of chalumeau and bassoon
creates a wonderful sound, in which the darkness of the bassoon
contrasts nicely with the mellow sound of the chalumeau. It
is again inspired by the presence of a virtuosic performer,
the clarinetist and chalumeau player Karl Jakob Gozian. The
cello has only a solo role in the slow movement, and the juxtaposition
of the two low instruments is quite nice.
Graupner has composed only one solo concerto for violin. It
is not known whether this was written for a specific player.
It seems Graupner - or his employer - had a special preference
for wind instruments, and those mostly take the solo parts in
the concertos. But considering the technical level of the solo
part in the violin concerto the performer must have been very
good. Friedemann Wezel delivers an excellent performance.
This concerto is just one example of Graupner’s highly original
and absolutely unique compositional style. As I have observed
before in reviews of recordings with instrumental works, his
music is a kind of patchwork, and built from different ideas
which sometimes seem to be totally unconnected. You just never
knows what is going to happen. There is quite a strong contrast
between the solo parts and the tutti in these concertos. The
violin concerto has a surprising start, and so has the Concerto
for bassoon in C, which opens this disc. It starts with
a really big bang. But there is also lyricism, as for instance
in the Andante from the violin concerto in which the
strings play pizzicato and the violin elegantly rises above
The Ensemble il capriccio plays with one instrument per part.
Whether this is in line with the size of the court chapel in
Darmstadt I can't tell. But it seems a questionable, and I also
find the acoustics a shade too dry. A little more space would
have been preferable. The ensemble plays brilliantly, with strong
accents on heavy beats, and with a great rhythmic drive. You
may find it hard to sit still while listening.
In short, this is a wonderful disc which brings the unique qualities
of Graupner's music to the fore. It once again proves that Graupner
is one of the great masters of the German baroque.
Johan van Veen
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