Koechlin: Silhouettes de comédie; Three Pieces, Op. 34; Bassoon Sonata

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COMPOSERS: Koechlin
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Silhouettes de comédie; Three Pieces, Op. 34; Bassoon Sonata
PERFORMER: Eckart Hübner (bassoon), Inge-Susann Römhild (piano)SWF SO/Roland Bader
CATALOGUE NO: 999 434-2
There is so much of Charles Koechlin’s output to explore – some 225 opus numbers – with so little of it recorded, that every new issue is enormously welcome. In the scheme of Koechlin’s achievement these works for solo bassoon (two with piano, the Silhouettes de comédie with full orchestra) are relatively modest in their scope. Harmonically these works show none of the more radical tendencies (the use of polytonality especially) that characterise his finest achievements, such as the series of symphonic poems based upon Kipling’s Jungle Book, and instead their modal language betrays Koechlin’s kinship with Fauré and Debussy. But like all of Koechlin’s works I’ve heard, the craftsmanship is impeccable. The Silhouettes are a series of 12 utterly charming, effortlessly fluent cameos depicting characters from Molière and the commedia dell’arte, with scoring that has a feather-light touch, and bassoon writing of wit and lyric grace; while both the early Three Pieces and the Sonata have a beguiling melodic purity. The performances have all the necessary elegance, and Eckart Hübner makes light of the considerable technical challenges insinuated into the bassoon parts; an endlessly enjoyable disc. Andrew Clements

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