American Record Guide
, December 2006
I have been a fan of Benkoc' s Vivaldi concertos recordings since the first one was issued (Naxos 555937, May/June 2004). Volume 2 was Naxos 555938 (J uly/Aug 2005). This is the third set, bringing the total he has recorded to 19 out of 37. What is so wonderful about his sound is his ability to blend with the orchestra. One of the most obvious differences between wind and stringed instruments is the way they produce sounds- and that causes one of the biggest difficulties in blending. Very good musicians, such as Benkocs, achieve a refined blend between the instrument families that sets them apart as extraordinary soloists. Benkocs has perfected that sweeping motion of the bow in his breath so that each phrase moves as if it were played by a cello.
The concertos here are R 495 in G minor, R 472 and 474 in C, R 483 in E-flat, R 502 in Bflat, and R 500 in A minor. Vivaldi composed the bassoon concertos to display the virtuosity of the soloist; they require brilliance and refinement of technique for the first and last movements as well as a purity and lyricism for the slow movements. Benkocs simply shines in all of them; he has truly mastered the style.