Rossini: Bassoon Concerto; Variations in C (versions for clarinet & for oboe); Introduction, Theme & Variations for clarinet & orchestra; Une larme

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COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: Arts
WORKS: Bassoon Concerto; Variations in C (versions for clarinet & for oboe); Introduction, Theme & Variations for clarinet & orchestra; Une larme
PERFORMER: Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Lorenzo Guzzoni (clarinet), Diethelm Jonas (oboe).Wen-Sinn Yang (cello); Bolzano String Academy/Georg Egger
CATALOGUE NO: 47634-2
‘Rossini’s last orchestral work: world premiere’ proclaims the cover blurb. But don’t get too excited. The work in question is a ‘rediscovered’ bassoon concerto allegedly written around 1845 as an examination piece for Nazareno Gatti, star bassoonist at Bologna’s Liceo Musicale. A manuscript copy survives bearing Rossini’s-name, though as even the over-enthusiastic booklet note admits, there is no conclusive evidence for his authorship. If the concerto really is by Rossini, he must have dashed off the vapid, inconsequential outer movements on autopilot, though there is mild compensation in the plaintive C minor Largo. The Introduction, Theme and Variations for clarinet, which the booklet rashly claims as an early work, is also unauthenticated, even if making entertaining use of melodies from Rossini operas. Both the other works, at least in their original guise, are the real thing: the frothy teenage clarinet variations (also offered in a version for oboe) and a typically wry, quirky late piece entitled Une larme, written for cello and piano but played here in an arrangement for cello and orchestra. The performances serve well enough, with tidy orchestral playing and witty, nimble solo contributions, above all from bassoonist Sergio Azzolini and clarinettist Lorenzo Guzzoni. But for all the incidental pleasures here, it’s hard to escape a sense of Rossinian barrel-scraping. Richard Wigmore

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