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Works & Duos For Clarinet & Bassoon / Massimo Martusciello, Gennaro Spezza

Poulenc / Martusciello / Spezza
Release Date: 01/28/2014 
Label:  Bongiovanni   Catalog #: 5178   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francis PoulencEugène BozzaIgor StravinskyLuciano Di Giandomenico,   ... 
Performer:  Gennaro SpezzaMassimo Martusciello
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



WORKS AND DUOS FOR CLARINET AND BASSOON Gennaro Spezza (cl); Massimo Martusciello (bn) BONGIOVANNI 5178 (67:20)


POULENC Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon. BOZZA Duettino for Two Bassoons. Pièces brèves for Solo Bassoon. Contraste III for Clarinet and Bassoon. Read more class="COMPOSER12">STRAVINSKY Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet. Lied ohne Name for Two Bassoons. DI GIANDOMENICO Cadenza a due for Clarinet and Bassoon. Studio concerto for Solo Clarinet. ARNOLD Fantasy for Bassoon. PIAZZOLLA 20 Years After for Clarinet and Bassoon


Massimo Martusciello has been the principal bassoonist of the Abruzzese Symphony Orchestra since 1989. Gennaro Spezza, principal clarinetist from that same year, left 10 years ago and has since taken up the tuba, keeping his clarinet embouchure in apparently good trim. The program is a diverse one, including both recital mainstays and some novelties drawn from the not extensive repertoire for the unaccompanied clarinet and bassoon, both solo and in combination. Despite a few technical infelicities and some less than idiomatic interpretations, this is a generally agreeable program of accessible 20th-century miniatures, offering a pleasant pastime of an hour for devotees of these instruments.


The most valuable documents here are those pieces which have no current duplicate professional recordings: the three Eugéne Bozza works, the Stravinsky Lied ohne Name , and two premieres. The Bozza Pièces brèves , with some nicely executed excursions into the highest range of the bassoon, and the eight-movement Contraste III , with some challenging passagework and a particularly affecting final Allegretto , are attractive works, well played. The Bozza Duettino may, however, raise some eyebrows, as Martusciello performs both bassoon parts in an overdub. He does the same with the Stravinsky Lied ohne Name . These are also well, if somewhat cautiously, played, though without the give-and-take and contrast in sound that two artists bring. Receiving their premiere are two pieces by Italian composer Luciano Di Giandomenico: the short, quirky Cadenza a due on the Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon by Franz Danzi with its short quotes from Bolero and Le Sacre du printemps , and the Studio concerto —whatever a studio concerto is—which puts the clarinet through an impressive array of technical challenges and includes its own thematic insinuations and an elusive tango rhythm.


The more familiar works are less compelling reasons for obtaining this release. The duo’s Poulenc Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon vexes in particular for its relative lack of Gallic style and wit. It is also the work that most challenges the bassoonist’s technique. If it is the reason for interest in this CD, then better to choose the delightful Nash Ensemble (Richard Hosford, clarinet and Ursula Leveaux, bassoon) on Hyperion or the new, equally adroit, London Conchord Ensemble (Maximiliano Martin, clarinet and Andrea de Flammineis, bassoon) on Champs Hill. Martusciello offers a rather poker-faced reading of Malcolm Arnold’s flamboyant Fantasy for Bassoon, bettered by Akio Koyama on the New Classical Adventures label or Knut Sönstevold on BIS. Spezza’s rendition of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces is primarily interesting because of its willfulness. The first piece—very soft and very inward—is at least in the right style, if below the tempo that the composer asked be strictly observed. The second, however, is so far under the 8th-note=168 indicated as to be a parody, and the third piece, while closer to tempo, is stiff. Several fine versions are currently out of print, but the recording by Matthias Müller (NEOS) is excellent, and the little effort needed to find Jennifer Showalter’s self-produced CD (jennifershowalter.com) will be well rewarded. As for Astor Piazzolla’s 20 Years After : This is nothing like Piazzola’s and Gerry Mulligan’s Summit rendition of the jazz/tango fusion piece. More of a lame tribute than a recreation of the experience, it is an odd pendant to the program.


Close recording in what sounds like a fairly live venue provides both presence—and some key noise—with a nice ring, though there is a distracting resonance on the chalumeau register of the clarinet in the solo recordings of that instrument. Perspectives and balances vary from piece to piece, though generally not too off-puttingly. As I observed at the start, this is a pleasant way to spend an hour. Listening too critically may reduce your pleasure.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet), Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1945; France 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
Duettino, for 2 bassoons by Eugène Bozza
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet), Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 9 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Pieces (3) for Clarinet solo by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
4.
Cadenza, for clarinet & bassoon by Luciano Di Giandomenico
Performer:  Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon), Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5.
Burlesque for basson & piano by Eugène Bozza
Performer:  Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
6.
Contrasts (5), for cello & oboe by Eugène Bozza
Performer:  Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon), Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
7.
Fantasy for Bassoon solo, Op. 86 by Malcolm Arnold
Performer:  Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8.
Duet for 2 Bassoons by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet), Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 1 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9.
20 años despues, tango by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet), Massimo Martusciello (Bassoon)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1974 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
10.
Studio concerto, for clarinet by Luciano Di Giandomenico
Performer:  Gennaro Spezza (Clarinet)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 07/2012 
Venue:  Icarus Recording Studio, L'Aquila 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, FP 32: I. Allegro: Tres rythme
Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, FP 32: II. Romance: Andante tres doux
Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, FP 32: III. Final: Tres Anime
Duettino for 2 Bassoons: I. Allegro moderato
Duettino for 2 Bassoons: II. Andantino
Duettino for 2 Bassoons: III. Allegro ma non troppo
Duettino for 2 Bassoons: IV. Allegro ma non troppo
3 Pieces for Solo Clarinet: No. 1. Sempre piano e molto tranquillo: quarter note = 52
3 Pieces for Solo Clarinet: No. 2. eighth note = 168
3 Pieces for Solo Clarinet: No. 3. eighth note = 160
Cadenza for Clarinet and Bassoon: Cadenza fro Clarinet and Bassoon
Pieces breves: I. Lento
Pieces breves: II. Scherzando
Pieces breves: III. Ad libitum sans rigueur de misure
Studio Concerto
Contrastes III: I. Moderato
Contrastes III: II. Adagio
Contrastes III: III. Andante
Contrastes III: IV. Allegretto
Contrastes III: V. Allegretto mosso
Contrastes III: VI. Larghetto sostenuto
Contrastes III: VII. Allegretto
Contrastes III: VIII. Allegretto
Fantasy, Op. 86
Lied ohne Name
20 anos despues (20 Years After)

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