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Bassoon Concertos by Vivaldi, Mozart, Jolivet and Genin / Koyama, Tewinkel

Vivaldi / Koyama / Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorch
Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog #: 13288   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Agricola GéninAndré JolivetWolfgang Amadeus MozartAntonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Rie Koyama
Conductor:  Sebastian Tewinkel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

RIE KOYAMA: BASSOON Rie Koyama (bn); Sebastian Tewinkle, cond; Southwest German CO Pforzheim GENUIN 13288 (54:47)

VIVALDI Bassoon Concerto in F, RV 491. MOZART Bassoon Concerto. JOLIVET Concerto for Bassoon, String Orchestra, Harp, and Piano. GÉNIN Read more class="ARIAL12">(arr. Beyer) Carnaval de Venice

Rie Koyama is the daughter of Akio Koyama, a respected bassoonist and teacher whose recorded work I praised in Fanfare 33:5. Like her father before her, Koyama has already forged an impressive career in Germany. In addition to solo work throughout her adopted country, as well as in much of Europe and beyond, she has been honored with a number of awards, including the 2012 German Music Award when she was 21, which occasioned this recording. She has appeared as an ensemble bassoonist with the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra, Pforzheim since 2008 and, more unexpectedly, with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra since she was 13.

Koyama is an impressive artist, and this recital shows off her talent well. She has technical facility to burn, and it is this quality that distinguishes this varied program. If I were to find fault, it would be to suggest there is a youthful tendency toward overemphasis. First notes in or at the peak of phrases, and especially staccato notes, are at times almost pecked in the Vivaldi Concerto, to the detriment of the line. And while her phrasing is vital and imaginative, it is also occasionally graceless, especially in the Mozart where one admires the liveliness but misses the charm. Interestingly enough, this is the same criticism I leveled at Karen Geoghegan in her recording of the Mozart ( Fanfare 34:4), which leaves me wondering if this reflects some new thinking regarding authenticity. If so, I don’t care much for it. Koyama also displays a tendency to drive some notes too hard, turning her usually warm tone edgy and even at times buzzy.

Koyama captures perfectly, however, the anguish and dark menace of the “Recitativo” opening of the André Jolivet Concerto, and is faultless in the haunting Largo cantabile movement, with really lovely work in the high register. She only occasionally distracts from the admiration of her technical prowess in the demanding Fugato Finale with a return to the spiking of notes. This would likely be the preferred recording even if there were more to choose from, surpassing my previous favorite with Dag Jensen (Capriccio), which is in any case out of print.

An even more demanding work completes the program. I must admit to a sigh when I saw the Carnival of Venice listing, but this one, a set of eight variations on the over-worn theme by Paganini, proves a cut above the usual arrangements essayed by bassoonists. It was originally for flute and piano, but by dropping the solo line two octaves, arranger Peter Beyer has created an absolute bear of a technical challenge for bassoonists, and his classy orchestration adds significantly to the fun. I suspect other bassoonists will be recording this in the future, but they will have a ways to go to match Koyama’s mastery.

Conductor Sebastian Tewinkle leads the Pforzheim ensemble with consistent stylishness and provides alert support for the soloist. The 17 strings, plus harpsichord, may be on the large size for Vivaldi by current thinking, but given their lightness and transparency the size proves just fine, and there is sufficient body for the greater demands of the Jolivet, with perfect balance with the piano and harp. The soloist is rather close, which may exacerbate the impressions of tone and attack, but generally the sound is pleasing. So are the program and performance, which I have no problem recommending, despite matters noted.

FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

Carnival of Venice, Op. 14 by Paul Agricola Génin
Performer:  Rie Koyama (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Sebastian Tewinkel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Concerto for Bassoon, Harp, Piano and Strings by André Jolivet
Performer:  Rie Koyama (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Sebastian Tewinkel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; France 
Concerto for Bassoon in B flat major, K 191 (186e) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Rie Koyama (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Sebastian Tewinkel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Period: Classical 
Written: 1774; Salzburg, Austria 
Concerto for Bassoon in F major, RV 491 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Rie Koyama (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Sebastian Tewinkel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 

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