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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681
Quatuor for two transverse flutes [recorders], bassoon and bc in
d minor (TWV 43,d1) [15:25]
Sonata for bassoon and bc in f minor (TWV 41,f1) [9:58]
Trio sonata for violin, bassoon and bc in F (TWV 42,F1) [6:49]
Trio sonata for violin, oboe and bc in a minor (TWV 42,a6) [9:17]
Trio sonata for violin, bassoon and bc in B flat (TWV 42,B5) [6:44]
Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679
Trio sonata No. 3 for violin, oboe, bassoon and bc in B flat (ZWV
Christoph SCHAFFRATH (1709
Duetto for harpsichord and bassoon in g minor [9:44]
Syntagma Amici (Elsa Frank (recorder, oboe), Ruth Van Killegem (recorder),
Stéphanie de Failly (violin), Bernard Woltèche (cello), Jérémie
Papasergio (bassoon), Guy Penson (harpsichord))/Jérémie Papasergio
rec. August 2010, Église Notre-Dame, Centeilles, France.
RICERCAR RIC 314 [73:00]
Music-lovers who have a special liking for the bassoon are
living in interesting times. A remarkable number of recordings
with baroque music for bassoon have been released in recent
years. Among them are concertos and sonatas by Vivaldi. There
has also been a considerable number of German compositions for
or with a bassoon. One of the most virtuosic and busy bassoonists
is the Italian Sergio Azzolini, who is responsible for various
of the recent releases. Jérémie Papasergio is also quite active
in this field. Over the years he has extensively explored the
history and development of the bassoon, its predecessor the
dulcian, and instruments which are more or less related to these
two instruments. His art is documented in various recordings,
especially for the Belgian label Ricercar.
The dulcian was frequently used in the late 16th century and
during the 17th century. In the 16th century it had mainly a
supporting role, especially in vocal music performed with instruments
playing colla voce. In the 17th century its main role
was in the basso continuo. There were some virtuosos who played
and wrote solo pieces, in particular the Spaniard Bartolomé
de Selma y Salaverde and the German Philipp Friedrich Böddecker.
In the second half of the 17th century the instrument now known
as 'baroque bassoon', was developed in France.
It was incorporated in the opera orchestra by Jean-Baptiste
Lully, and with the dissemination of the French style it was
soon adopted elsewhere including in Germany.
The new instrument allowed greater virtuosity, for instance
due to its larger range. The extension of its range upwards
also increased its attraction to composers to write music for
it. The result is a considerable repertoire of pieces, some
of which have become quite famous. Among them is the Sonata
in f minor which Telemann included in his collection Der
getreue Music-Meister. As he mainly composed for amateurs
and probably not many of them mastered the bassoon he offered
the recorder as an alternative. Another frequently-performed
piece is the Quatuor in d minor from the second production
of the Musique de table. Originally scored for two
transverse flutes, recorder and bc here Telemann suggests the
bassoon as an alternative for the recorder. In this recording
the two transverse flutes have been replaced by recorders. That
is a rather odd decision: there is no need for it, and it is
quite possible that Telemann wanted a contrast between the two
flutes on the one hand and the recorder or bassoon on the other.
It is useful to note here that sound-wise recorder and bassoon
are closer to each other than to the flute.
A combination of the bassoon, either as an equal partner or
in the basso continuo (Trio sonata in a minor), with
another wind instrument, was quite common. Telemann often opted
for less conventional scorings. That is the case in the Trio
sonatas in F and in B flat, in which the bassoon
is partnered by the violin. The former is from a collection
published in Frankfurt in 1718 and preserved in manuscript.
In addition two of Telemann's contemporaries are represented.
Jan Dismas Zelenka worked at the court in Dresden, and mainly
wrote religious music. He also composed some instrumental music.
His six sonatas for two oboes, bassoon and bc belong to the
most brilliant and technically demanding chamber music of the
early 18th century in Germany. They reflect the great skills
of the players of the court orchestra in Dresden. Here the Sonata
No. 3 in B flat is recorded, the only sonata from the set
in which the violin is suggested as an alternative to the first
Christoph Schaffrath is relatively little-known. It is only
fairly recently that some discs have been devoted to his oeuvre.
He was for some years a member of Frederick the Great's
chapel, but in 1741 he entered the service of Frederick's
sister Anna Amalia, whose musical taste was rather conservative.
The six duets for keyboard and one melody instrument follow
the traditional pattern of the trio sonata. The order of movements
follows the taste of the time: moderate, fast, fast.
The first movement is an andante, and Papasergio and Penson
have chosen the perfect tempo here. It seems to me that the
balance is a bit too much in favour of the bassoon, though;
the harpsichord should have been given more prominence. The
sonata by Zelenka is also very well executed. I liked in particular
the opening adagio, with nice dynamic contrasts and played in
a truly gestural manner. The beautifully swaying rhythm of the
siciliana from Telemann's Trio sonata in B flat
is given a nice performance, and the soave from the Trio
sonata in F is elegantly played. I am less enthusiastic
about the Quatuor in d minor which could have been
more lively, especially the second movement (vivace!). The closing
allegro is a bit too slow.
That is about the only thing to complain about. This is a delightful
disc with some of the finest music for the bassoon.
The booklet contains an interesting essay about the bassoon
in the German baroque and the music on this disc. It is incomprehensible
that the track-list omits all catalogue numbers. I have added
them in the header.
Johan van Veen