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The Bassoon Abroad - Foreign Composers In Britain / Harris, Ensemble Chameleon

Galliard / Ensemble Chameleon
Release Date: 01/28/2014 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83463   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Ernest GalliardTraditionalLuigi MerciJohn Frederick Lampe
Performer:  Jennifer Harris
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE BASSOON ABROAD: Foreign Composers in Britain Jennifer Harris (bn); Ens Chameleon CARUS 83.463 (69:25)


GALLIARD 6 Sonatas for Bassoon/Cello and Basso Continuo: No. 1 in a; No. 2 in G; No. 5 in d; No. 6 in C. The Advice. TRAD The Bush aboon Traquair. The Flowers of Edinburgh. The Lass of Pattie’s Mill. MERCI Read more class="ARIAL12b">6 Sonatas for Bassoon, op. 3: No. 1 in B?; No. 3 in E?; No. 4 in g; No. 5 in c. LAMPE The Solitary Relief. The Maid’s Request


Elsewhere in this volume, I welcome The Proud Bassoon , a recital of German and French bassoon works from the late Baroque period played by the Scottish Baroque bassoon virtuoso Peter Whelen. Now, here from the same package of goodies sent by publisher Joel Flegler, is another recital of Baroque bassoon works, played by a different outstanding proponent of the instrument, English-born Jennifer Harris. These are works primarily of the French (despite the name) composer Luigi Merci and German composer John Ernest Galliard, both of whom immigrated to England to become part of the lively music scene dominated by another German, George Frideric Handel. Harris, incidentally, has made the counter-move, having transplanted to Germany for her advanced studies and subsequent career as an orchestral and chamber musician. She is currently professor of Baroque bassoon at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna University.


The two principal composers are not well known. Galliard moved to England by way of the Court of Denmark to become chapel-master of Somerset House in London. Merci served James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos, before moving to London as well. Among the few surviving works, both produced a set of six sonatas for bassoon and continuo, four each of which Harris has chosen as the core of this recital. They are remarkable for their timing—the bassoon was just coming into its own as a solo instrument at the time of their composition and publication—and for their quality and variety of style. While not masterpieces on the exalted plane of Handel, they display the considerable melodic gift of their creators, and are substantial works which suggest the discernment and playing skill of the public which bought them for home music-making.


Like the works on The Proud Bassoon , these sonatas often require a soloist of considerable skill to pull them off. New instruments based on surviving period bassoons, courses of study to teach the instrument with its complex, very different fingerings, and still others to teach period performance practice, are now resulting in a crop of outstanding proponents of the instrument and this repertoire. Harris is clearly one of these, and she and the remarkable artists of Ensemble Chameleon are making a most impressive CD debut with this outstanding release. The works may not be masterpieces, but the performances are, with Harris’s imaginative, charismatic, and always virtuoso performances ably seconded by the other four members of Ensemble Chameleon. They are so good they should be named individually: Ulrike Becker plays Baroque cello; Barbara Messmer, violone; Andrea Baur, lute; and Evelyn Laib, harpsichord. The often subtle, continually varied sonorities produced as accompaniment are a constant delight, with the alternate use of plucked strings and harpsichord especially nicely done. Tempos are lively but avoid the Lamborghini-like approach of some ensembles from farther south.


Solo honors are shared a bit. The ensemble, sans bassoon, plays German composer John Frederick Lampe’s ballad The Solitary Relief , taken from a 1756 song collection Apollo’s Cabinet , and Harris joins them for a sampling of Scottish airs from the same collection. Laib takes a solo turn in the same composer’s The Maid’s Request . Becker and Baur play a Galliard ballad, The Advice . They are as impressive individually as collectively.


Carus, known for its superbly engineered releases, has added yet another to its catalog. Notes by the soloist, to which I am indebted, are lively and informative, and provide, along with the context of the works, a clever motivation for the program concept. She also makes an interesting connection between the period settings of Scottish airs interspersed among the sonatas, and the music of Merci and Galliard. All in all, presentation and music, the release is perfect. Some admirers of late Baroque music may shy from this disc because of the drier, stuffier quality of the Baroque bassoon. That would be a shame, as the sonority is ideal for the music and the ensemble. and the music is a delight. Highly recommended.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata no 2 in G major by John Ernest Galliard
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
2.
The Bush aboon Traquair by Traditional
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
3.
Sonata no 4 in G minor by Luigi Merci
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
4.
The Solitary Relief by John Frederick Lampe
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
5.
Sonata no 1 in B flat major by Luigi Merci
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
6.
The Maid's Request by John Frederick Lampe
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
7.
Sonata no 3 in E flat major by Luigi Merci
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
8.
The Flowers of Edinburgh by Traditional
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
9.
Sonata no 6 for Bassoon/Cello and Basso continuo in C major by John Ernest Galliard
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; England 
10.
Sonata no 5 in C minor by Luigi Merci
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
11.
The Advice by John Ernest Galliard
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
12.
Sonata no 1 for Bassoon/Cello and Basso continuo in A minor by John Ernest Galliard
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; England 
13.
Sonata no 5 in D minor by John Ernest Galliard
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon
Period: Baroque 
14.
The Lass of Pattie's Mill by Traditional
Performer:  Jennifer Harris (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chameleon

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