Notes and Editorial Reviews
Trio Sonatas: No. 2; No. 4; No. 5; No. 6. Bassoon Concerto in C
Parnassi musici; Sergio Azzolini (bn) (period instruments)
cpo 777 383 (64:47)
The enterprising label cpo continues to discover and record relatively obscure composers whose music is worth getting to know. They have once again struck gold with the music of Johann Georg Neruda. There is uncertainty about the year of Neruda’s birth;
gives c. 1707, while cpo’s booklet states that
1711 is definitely the year. He was born in Bohemia and educated at Prague. In 1741 he moved to Dresden, where he found employment in private orchestras of its nobility before successfully petitioning the king for a position as violinist in the court orchestra. Georg Pisendel, the leader of the court orchestra, apparently did not think highly of Neruda’s compositions, probably because Neruda favored the Italian style, which was not to Pisendel’s taste. Neruda composed sacred works, an opera, 18 symphonies, 14 concertos, and some trio sonatas before his death in Dresden around 1780.
Neruda’s music is immediately engaging. It is written in the gallant style, with its emphasis on pleasant and pretty music. Although it may be lacking in depth, it makes for highly enjoyable listening, just the thing to lift the spirits on a cold, gloomy winter’s day.
The period-instrument group Parnassi musici plays this engaging music to perfection. Tempos are not rushed, and the ensemble is dead-on. Sergio Azzolini, the soloist in the Bassoon Concerto, is also a member of the ensemble, and as might be expected, his work is equal to that of his colleagues. A slightly more distant microphone placement in the concerto might have been wise, however; we can hear Azzolini take a huge breath after the cadenza in the concerto.
The trio sonatas are probably first recordings; at any rate, there are no competing performances currently available. There is one other recording of the Bassoon Concerto on a Kleos disc, which also contains bassoon concertos by Mozart and Pichl. I have not heard it, and it does not appear to have been reviewed in
While I wouldn’t characterize this recording as an essential purchase, I have enjoyed it greatly, and I’m sure you would also.
FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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