Rossini, Krommer, Cherubini, Dihau, Lalliet, Chabrier, Ravel

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Chabrier,Cherubini,Dihau,Krommer,Lalliet,Ravel,Rossini
LABELS: Crystal
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: A Musical Painting Comes to Life
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: David DeBolt (bassoon), Timothy Ehlen, Jan Meyer Thompson (piano), Edward Ormond, Katharine DeBolt (viola), Kent Collier (cello), Mary-Sue Hyatt (mezzo-soprano), Sylvia Villarreal (soprano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 841
The musical painting in question is Degas’s atmospheric 1870 depiction of the Paris Opéra orchestra, featuring its principal bassoonist Désiré Dihau. It forms the starting-point for David DeBolt’s programme centred on Dihau and the solo bassoon repertoire of his time. Not everything fits in well: Krommer’s neatly turned Quartet for bassoon and lower strings belongs to the Viennese rather than the Parisian tradition; Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, arranged for bassoon and piano, has only a tenuous link with Degas’s Impressionism. But there is a Rossini aria in a contemporary bassoon transcription; an aria with

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an expressive obbligato bassoon from Cherubini’s Medée (though why in Italian?); a virtuoso fantasy by Dihau’s oboist colleague Casimir Théophile Lalliet; a bassoon version of a tuneful song by Dihau himself (published with a cover by Toulouse-Lautrec); and an 1870 setting of Baudelaire’s ‘L’invitation au voyage’ by Chabrier (also shown in the painting) with an apparently authentic bassoon part. David DeBolt’s playing is free-flowing and characterful, and he is mostly well supported by various friends and colleagues at Kent State University, Ohio. Unfortunately, the recording is lacking in focus on the voices in the sung items, and elsewhere on the bassoon – a rather elementary blemish on an intriguing disc. Anthony Burton