Fantasies For Bassoon Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Sonata, D.821 ‘Arpeggione’ [24:29] Serge RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Vocalise [6:29] Gustav SCHRECK (1849-1918)
Sonata, Opus 9 [15:50] Louis SPOHR(1784-1859)
Adagio [5:53] Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Salut d’Amour, Opus 12 [2:56] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Fantasiestücke, Opus 73 [10:31]
Karen Geoghegan (bassoon), Philip Edward Fisher (piano)
rec. 11-12 April 2011, Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN 10703 [66:45]
Young bassoon virtuoso Karen Geoghegan first came to public
attention through the BBC’s Classical Star programme.
At the time still a student at the Royal Academy of Music, she
has since performed at various well-known venues, including
the Wigmore Hall and as part of the BBC Proms.
This disc is the latest in a series of recordings for Chandos,
and comprises a collection of works which (apart from the Schreck)
were not originally composed for bassoon. Schubert’s Arpeggione
Sonata was written for the arpeggione, a now obsolete type of
bowed guitar. It is now heard on a variety of instruments, including
viola, cello and flute. The version here for bassoon works well,
with the instrument’s tenor pitch range well suited to the tessitura
of the music. This is an enjoyable rendition, with a lovely
singing tone on the bassoon and well phrased lines, especially
in the slow movement, which is beautifully played. The piano
playing by Philip Edward Fisher is warm, sensitive and beautifully
executed. Overall, I feel the balance favours the piano slightly
over the bassoon, and the mic positioning on the bassoon allows
breaths and key noises to be clearly audible. While this is
undoubtedly part of the nature of wind instrument performance
and adds a sense of naturalness to the recording, I found some
of the quickly snatched breaths a little distracting.
Gustav Schreck’s op. 9 bassoon Sonata was composed in around
1880. Schreck taught in Finland and Leipzig and held the well-respected
post of Cantor at St Thomas’ Church. The three movement sonata
has charm and some enjoyable harmonic progressions. This lyrical
work has some powerful piano writing which occasionally overtook
the bassoon in terms of balance, but this is a dynamic and committed
performance. Schreck’s compositional style has hints of Brahms,
with chromatic twists and vocal-style melodic lines. The final
movement has a sense of bravura and flair, and some challenging
writing for both instruments.
Schumann’s Fantaisiestücke were written for clarinet
and later arranged for violin and cello. The three interlocking
pieces share melodic material and become gradually faster as
the music progresses. The pieces work well on the bassoon, and
there is a sense of organic development throughout this performance.
In addition to the major works, some shorter pieces are included
here too. Rachmaninov’s famous Vocalise is extremely
well suited to the bassoon, and the playing here is stunning
from both performers. Spohr’s Adagio was originally written
for violin and harp but the composer also made a transcription
for cello and piano. The musicianship of both players is clearly
in evidence here, with some poignant tone colours and a good
sense of partnership throughout. Elgar’s Salut d’Amour
is an enjoyable and somewhat lighter addition which is warm
and lyrical throughout.
Overall, this is an enjoyable disc in which Geoghegan maintains
the high standards to which we have become accustomed. It is
a delight to hear the bassoon in a recital role, and Geoghegan’s
work demonstrates the capabilities of the instrument in a way
which is constantly convincing.
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