The starting-point for this unique recital is a true Mozart rarity, the Sonata for bassoon and cello K292 which Mozart wrote in 1775, pairing the bass members of string and wind families not to comic effect but rather demonstrating their expressive versatility and contrasting tone-colours, in the hands of sufficiently practised performers; the Sonata is accessible by only the most skilled amateur performers such as its original dedicatee, the nobleman, pianist and occasional bassoonist Thaddäus Wolfgang von Dürnitz.
The count’s considerable musical gifts may be judged from the teenaged Mozart’s dedication of the Piano Sonata K284 in the same year: one of the composer’s first works of absolute genius, notably in the extraordinary landscape of its long theme-and-variation finale. The bassoon-and-cello sonata may not rival K284 for lightly worn profundity, but in its Andante we may still hear the teenaged composer attaining an idiom of sublime gravity which anticipates masterpieces such as the Sinfonia Concertante K364.
Rarer still on disc is the creative output of Dürnitz himself, represented here by four sonatas for bassoon and keyboard from a collection of six. He evidently cultivated a particular facility at the top of the intrument’s range (famously exploited by Stravinsky to open Le sacre du printemps), notably in the elegiac introduction to Sonata No.3. Dürnitz was no dilettante musician, to judge from his ready assimilation of Classical-era convention and the kind of virtuoso writing in the quick movements that challenges conceptions of the bassoon as a sturdy accompaniment to more agile musical companions.
Between these two composers in the register of fame falls the French composer François Devienne, four years younger than Mozart and author of six Duos Concertants Op.3 for two bassoons in around 1782; Carmen Mainer Martín presents two of them here, with the second part arranged for cello in the same disposition as Mozart’s sonata. This is her second album on Brilliant Classics; the first (95761), also accompanied by Enrique Escartín Ara, attracted praise in the Spanish press and beyond: ‘Her approach vindicates the prominence of the bassoon as a chamber music instrument, as a performer of outstanding technical mastery and a formidable tone-colourist, from the romantic density in the middle register to sounds typical of contemporary articulation in the high register’ (Melómano Digital).
- This album presents a selection of works written by three composers of the same generation: all three were born in the 1750s and wrote music in the Classical idiom of eighteenth-century Europe, all three centred around the bassoon.
- Mozart is the starting point of the program with his rarely performed Sonata for bassoon and cello in B flat, KV 292. Cast in three movements, it was written in around 1775 – a year after the Bassoon Concerto in B flat, KV 191 – when Mozart was not yet twenty. Notable for its sheer simplicity and beauty, it was dedicated to the music-loving nobleman Thaddäus Wolfgang von Dürnitz, an amateur composer and occasional pianist and bassoonist. For the same combination we hear two Duo-Concertante by Devienne, and three bassoon sonatas by Von Dürtnitz.
- Played by three Spanish soloists sharing a passion for unknown chamber music from the 18th century.