Crusell, Kreutzer, Mozart, Rossini: Bassoon Concertos by Crusell, Kreutzer, Mozart and Rossini

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Crusell,Kreutzer,Mozart,Rossini
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Bassoon Concertos by Crusell, Kreutzer, Mozart and Rossini
PERFORMER: Karen Geoghegan (bassoon); BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda
CATALOGUE NO: CHAAN 10613

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After her flying start as finalist in BBC Two’s Classical Star competition, Karen Geoghegan has honed and consolidated a dazzling technique (albeit with an occasional uncalled-for hurried moment).

I couldn’t remember hearing slicker bassoon playing than the final movement of the Rossini concerto – until she surpassed it, in prodigiously fast tonguing to end Kreutzer’s set of variations and in a flurry of triplets in the single-movement Crusell Concertino. She produces a wonderfully languid lyricism in the slow movement of Mozart’s only surviving bassoon concerto, matched by the (crocodile)-tear-jerking minore variation of the Kreutzer Fantasie. 

Chandos is providing on-going support – this is her fourth disc – and shares credit for some fascinating repertoire. While familiar Mozart will tempt the less adventurous listener, the little-known showpieces are well worth an outing. The Rossini Concerto, probably among his last compositions and undiscovered until the 1990s, is expectedly full of operatic cantabile before the jaunty finale. Among Kreutzer’s variations the liner notes identify ‘a credible imitation of a demented corncrake’.

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Sound is exceptionally well balanced. In front of admirably fresh orchestral textures (special plaudits to high horns in Mozart) the bassoon stands out with almost three-dimensional clarity. George Pratt