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Penguin Guide, January 2009

VIVALDI, A.: Bassoon Concertos (Complete), Vol. 1 8.555937
VIVALDI, A.: Bassoon Concertos (Complete), Vol. 2 8.555938

This excellent new Naxos survey seems set eventually to upstage Daniel Smith on ASV, and certainly to match the excellent recording of Klaus Thunemann on Philips. Tamas Benkócs is a splendid, personable bassoonist, his expressive colouring matching his easy but sometimes remarkable bravura. Moreover, Béla Drahos support him with accompaniments that are warmly phrased in slow movements and full of vitality in Allegros. If anything, the second collection (which includes the solo version of La nottei) is more stimulating and lively than the first, and both make a good case for playing Vivaldi on modern instruments. The recording too is resonantly full without clouding detail; the balance, with the bassoon given a real presence, is very satisfactory.

Fanfare, July 2005

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