Devienne

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COMPOSERS: Devienne
LABELS: Meridian
WORKS: Flute Sonatas, Opp. 13/2 & 3, 68/1 & 5; Bassoon Sonatas, Opp. 24/3 & 5
PERFORMER: Badinage
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84254 DDD
This period-instrument ensemble has searched beyond the obvious repertoire to produce a jolly CD devoted to flute and bassoon sonatas by François Devienne, a French contemporary of Mozart. The glory of the collection is the way in which Devienne exploits the idiosyncrasies of each solo instrument – he was the founding flute professor at the Paris Conservatoire and also a proficient bassoon player. Here Paul Carroll emulates the composer’s talent in his own virtuoso display on both instruments.

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The contrapuntal extravaganzas of the Baroque era can be heard in the Op. 13 sonatas for flute and obbligato fortepiano which contrast with the more translucent textures and subtle harmonic changes associated with the Classical period, as heard in the later Op. 68 sonatas. There are frantic fortepiano scamperings and twisting intricacies in the Allegros of Op. 13. On the other hand the melodies of the slow movements of Op. 68 lie exposed and Badinage saunters along too languorously.

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In the sonatas for bassoon and bass, however, Carroll is in his element. The fruity bassoon bumbles along – it chats, sings, dances and amuses. In the beautiful, sustained phrases of the slow movements, the trio manages to produce a rich, thick sound with a serene, sure, sense of direction, firmly controlled without losing sight of spontaneity. Kate Sherriff