Jean-Jacques Kantorow

Weber: The Symphonies; Bassoon Concerto; Andante e Rondo Ungarese

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Stemming from the same fertile compositional period as the majority of his clarinet works, composer Carl Maria von Weber was also hard at work penning two symphonies (in fact, his only two forays into this genre) and his lone Concerto for bassoon and orchestra. Though written only a few short years after Beethoven's revolutionary Third Symphony, Weber seems little interested in innovation apart from his use of scherzos in place of minuets. Rather, these two early works are more Haydn-esque in their melodies and accompaniment, and Mozartian in their frequent use of wind concertante parts. The Bassoon Concerto, one of the few available from this time period, may not be revolutionary, but is still a virtuosic tour de force proving that the instrument is easily capable of holding its own in front of an orchestra. Conductor Jean-Jacque Kantorow leads the Tapiola Sinfonietta in these unfailingly precise, crisp readings of these early Weber works. The orchestra's sound is wonderfully balanced, light but not fluffy, and vigorous without being frantic. The wind section puts forth one beautifully performed solo after another. Bassoonist Jaakko Luoma dazzles listeners in the concerto with his extremely musical playing coupled with an abundantly facile technique. BIS' sound is clean and well-balanced; the multi-channel SACD track adds even more depth and spaciousness.

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