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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV497 [9:55]
Bassoon Concerto in B flat minor ‘La notte’ RV501 [8:45]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sonata in A major (transcribed by Václav Vonášek from Flute Sonata in E major), BWV 1035 [11:43]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Dopo notte; aria from Ariodante, HWV33 (transcribed by Václav Vonášek) [6:46]
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Sonata in D minor for Bassoon solo (transcribed by Mordechai Rechtman from the Flute Sonata in A minor) [9:20]
Václav Vonášek (bassoon)
Barocco sempre giovane
rec. June 2011, Knights Hall of the Pardubice Chateau
SUPRAPHON SU4124-2 [46:58]

Barocco sempre giovane is a small historically informed performance ensemble (or Original Instrumentation if you’re old fashioned) which lines up 2-1-1-1 and virginal. It’s performed extensively in the Czech Republic and across Europe since 2004, and has made a number of recordings. For this Supraphon disc the group supports bassoonist Václav Vonášek who was born in 1980 in Southern Bohemia and studied successively in Plzeň and Prague, later winning competitions which culminated in the 2009 Prague Spring prize. He’s currently bassoonist and double-bassoonist in the Czech Philharmonic.
 
The programme centres on two concertos for bassoon by Vivaldi and adds three transcriptions, two of which are by Vonášek. He’s an agile and stylistically apt performer with an attractive tone throughout the instrument’s compass. There’s also a well-judged balance between the solo and accompanying instruments in both concertos, not least when the strings thin in the slow movement of the A minor in their discreet support of the solo line. The drowsy Largo introduction to the B minor, ‘La notte’, is well conveyed as is the increasingly dramatic phantasm of the faster succeeding movement. So, too, the placid dream of the slow movement. This ingenious concerto brings out the best in the group and soloist; well characterised and projected, but not overdone. Atmospheric stasis sounds good in their performance and the joys of the sun’s rays in the finale equally so.
 
It’s appropriate I suppose, given the title of the B minor concerto that the bassoonist has transcribed the aria Dopo notte from Handel’s Ariodante. It’s a nice showcase for the bassoon but the relative immobility of the instrument necessarily causes a lag of momentum. He has also transcribed JS Bach’s Flute Sonata in E major, BWV 1035 as an A major Bassoon sonata. It’s played with fine technical assurance and also lyrical introspection. The Siciliano is the work’s heart and this is well conveyed. Mordechai Rechtman transcribed CPE Bach’s Flute Sonata in A minor which emerges newly conveyed as a solo Bassoon Sonata in D minor. There are high and sepulchral, low dialogues here in a performances that strongly conveys a youthful charge.
 
These crisp, well recorded performances augur well for the group’s collaboration with Supraphon.
 
Jonathan Woolf 

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