Arthur Grossman

Bassoonist Arthur Grossman

(CD - Crystal Records Dist. #840)

Review by

Crystal Records specializes in American brass and woodwind soloists and chamber groups. Their recordings are primarily performer-oriented rather than repertory oriented. This one features the prominent bassoonist Arthur Grossman, formerly a leading orchestral bassoonist (with years in the Oklahoma City Symphony, The San Antonio Symphony, the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He was a founding member of the Seventh Army Wind Quintet, which, when its members' enlistments were up, reformed as an independent group, the Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet, which is now the faculty quintet of the University of Washington.

Such Crystal Records releases as this remind me of typical American faculty wind recitals. In the first place, the playing is excellent. Secondly, the repertory is all over the place. In this case it comprises a classical work (the three duets for clarinet and bassoon allegedly by Beethoven, WoO 27), a pretty good modern work by a composer who has been a professional associate of the recitalist (Ray Luke's Contrasts for bassoon and piano), an homage performance (the Fantasy for bassoon & piano, a notable twelve-tone work by the recently deceased Ronald Roseman), and a real find, a knockout of a Trio for Two Bassoons and Piano by Wolfgang Plagge, and worth the entire cost of the disc by itself.

Recording is fine, though there is a tendency to isolate the two instruments in the "Beethoven" works in the two speakers. It would have been nice if Crystal had given a clue on the outside of the package that the work attributed to Beethoven might not have actually been by Beethoven.

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