One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerti per fagotto IV
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in C (RV 469) [11:43]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in F (RV 491) [9:05]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in a minor (RV 498) [12:17]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in G (RV 492) [10:24]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in a minor (RV 500) [10:48]
Concerto for bassoon, strings and bc in C (RV 473) [14:19]
Sergio Azzolini (bassoon)
L'Onda Armonica
rec. April 2014, Santuario di Ariadello, Soresina, Italy DDD
NA¤VE OP30551 [68:40]

Bassoonists of our time have not many solo concertos to choose from. I am not familiar with the repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries, but it seems unlikely that many concertos were written during those two centuries. That certainly is true of the 18th century. Antonio Vivaldi was by far the most prolific composer of bassoon concertos, writing 39; his German colleague Christoph Graupner composed four. The latter were inspired by a virtuoso on the instrument who entered the court orchestra of Darmstadt where Graupner was Kapellmeister. In the case of Vivaldi's concertos we don't know for whom they were written.

Whereas he composed some of his cello concertos for aristocratic amateurs it seems likely that the bassoon concertos were intended for professional players. It is unlikely that there were many amateurs who played this instrument. Some may have been written for the girls of the Ospedale della PietÓ in Venice but there is no concrete information about the playing of the bassoon in this institution. Sergio Azzolini, in his liner-notes, suggests that some of the school's oboists may also have been able to play the bassoon. He also mentions two professionals to whom Vivaldi was in contact, one of them a member of the orchestra of Count Morzin in Prague, to whom Vivaldi dedicated his Four Seasons concertos. It is notable that several other members of the count's orchestra also composed bassoon concertos, which show Vivaldi's influence.

The six concertos included here have an identical texture: three movements (fast - slow - fast) in ritornello form. The strings are involved in all movements, except the largo from the Concerto in C (RV 469) which is for bassoon and basso continuo only. The other Concerto in C (RV 473) stands out for its last movement being a minuet with variations, a rarity in Vivaldi's oeuvre. Four of Vivaldi's bassoon concertos - among them the Concerto in a minor (RV 500) - also exist as concertos for oboe. The addition ‘per fagotto ridotto’ or ‘accomodato per hautboy’ to these concertos indicates that the bassoon versions came first.

There is quite some variety among the concertos on this disc. The opening movement of the Concerto in C (RV 469) includes percussionistic figures and fanfare motifs. The closing movement opens with a passage in which bassoon and strings play in unison. In the largo from the Concerto in F (RV 492) Azzolini sees similarities with some of Vivaldi's sacred works, for instance the famous Magnificat (RV 600). Is this the reason that this movement opens with a short organ solo? In this movement the strings mostly play long chords over which the bassoon weaves a web of coloratura. In the larghetto from the Concerto in a minor (RV 498) the strings also play mostly chords. This concerto is characterised by a strong amount of intimacy, largely due to the strings playing piano sempre, as the first movement requires. Azzolini sees here “the intense melancholy of a Venetian winter”. This concerto, indeed, shows some similarity with the Winter concerto from the Four Seasons.

The Concerto in G (RV 492) has an unmistakably theatrical character. Azzolini mentions the sudden changes between major and minor keys, and to this one can add the strong dynamic contrasts. The closing allegro ends pianissimo. The last two concertos are especially notable for the expressive character of the respective slow movements. In particular the largo from the Concerto in C (RV 473) is a wonderful piece.

This is the fourth volume in a series with the complete bassoon concertos. With this disc the total of recorded concertos reaches twenty. That means that we still have three discs to go before the complete bassoon concertos are available on disc. If you have the previous three discs in your collection you certainly want to add this one and the forthcoming three. Sergio Azzolini is one of the world’s most renowned players of the baroque bassoon and he delivers outstanding performances here. He can play with full power in some of the fast movements, but also brings supreme lyricism to the more intimate and expressive pieces. He receives fine support from the ensemble which plays with eight violins, two violas, two cellos, double bass, various plucked instruments, harpsichord and organ. Although a line-up of eight violins is probably tenable from a historical point of view I would prefer a smaller ensemble for musical reasons. However, that seems more a matter of taste than based on historical evidence.

This disc is another splendid addition to Na´ve's admirable Vivaldi project.

Johan van Veen



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3