- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 495
- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in C major, RV 474
- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in E flat major, RV 483
- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in B flat major, RV 502
- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in C major, RV 472
- Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in A minor, RV 500
The Naxos label's gargantuan Vivaldi project rolls on with his 39 bassoon concertos. Why did he write 39 bassoon concertos? Why would anyone? Various explanations have been proposed, from the instrumental virtuosity of his students at the girls' orphanage where he worked for much of his life to the frequency with which bassoons were present in the German and Austrian court orchestras that made up an important part of his customer base. But who knows? Whatever his reasons, Vivaldi's unending inventiveness in the basic three-movement fast-slow-fast concerto form did not flag when it came to writing for the bassoon. Indeed, this obscure corner of the Vivaldi repertoire almost seems to shine with unexpected gems, at least as heard in this, the third disc of what will likely be a six-disc bassoon series. Consider (but make your own list!) the zippy, slightly nervous Presto opening movement of the "Concerto in E flat major, RV 483" (track 7), or the first movement of the "Concerto in C major, RV 472" (track 13), with its strange not-quite-introduction for the soloist and its oddly fragmented relationship between solo and tutti. The latter concerto as a whole shows how well Vivaldi divined how the stylistic winds were blowing in the direction of variegated texture, and nearly all the slow movements here have the combination of serenity and subtle harmonic surprise that is Vivaldi's trademark in his quasi-operatic Largo mode. Bassoonist Tam�s Benk�cs is a delight, executing the difficult outer movements with aplomb and sustaining a nice singing tone in the slow movements. He gets able support from the Nicolaus Esterh�zy Sinfonia, a group created by Naxos that has taken on an independent concertizing existence. The group plays on modern instruments but has a brisk, crisp delivery seemingly influenced by the world of historical performance. This disc offers superior quality and mostly unknown music at a budget price.