A REFRESHING BREEZE OF WIND MUSIC ON DISCS
A dozen Vivaldi concertos are among recent delights
Compared with violinists, cellists or pianists, players of wind instruments have a paucity of music to choose from when they seek solo materials. Although there are a number of masterly works by great composers, most music for winds has been written by players who regarded themselves primarily as performers and composed only to provide themselves with something to play. Equally popular was (and is) the practice of taking works composed for other instruments and arranging them for winds. Yet, as can be seen by a number of recently released recordings, wind soloists can put together highly enjoyable programs.
Antonio Vivaldi was an inexhaustable provider of concertos for his favored instruments, and his 37 for bassoon and string orchestra are exceeded in number only by those for violin. The bassoonist Daniel Smith has embarked on an admirable project of recording all of them, with volume 1 (Vox Cum Laude MCD 10053) and volume 2 (Vox Cum Laude MCD 10054); both available on compact discs recently released. Readers seeking to disprove the familiar quip that "Vivaldi did not write 600 concertos but the same concerto 600 times" will find abundant evidence on these discs, each of which contains six virtuostic and imaginatively varied works. Mr. Smith, and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Philip Ledger, play with great spirit and musiciality.
- Paul Turok