Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, November 2008

…you could hardly imagine the music better performed by all concerned and the recording is fine if you turn the volume up slightly…As usual with Naxos, the notes are brief but informative. Gaspare nello Vettro’s general notes on Bottesini and Thomas Martin’s on the music overlap slightly, but they are none the worse for that. Martin himself seems to be as great an aficionado of the bass as Bottesini himself —not only does he play the instrument, he also makes them—over 140 according to the notes.

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, September 2008

This is the second volume Naxos has released in their Bottesini Collection. The doublebass composer and virtuoso—who lived 1821–1889—was considered at the time the Paganini of the doublebass and was also a renowned conductor who traveled the world performing.  He extended the range of what the doublebass could do in many areas. The three-movement Concertino is popular with bassists today.  It is a virtuoso piece but also of high quality musically.  The Duo Concertante pits a doublebass and a cello against the symphony orchestra and demands virtuoso playing from both soloists. In the Passioni amorose we have a small concertino for two basses plus orchestra.

Bottesini wrote several operas, and three selections on the program employ themes from some of them. The instrumental transcriptions got more exposure for some of his operatic music since his operas were up against the extreme popularity of Verdi at the time. Naxos’ reproduction of the doublebasses is first rate; you will probably appreciate it more if you have at least one subwoofer in your system.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2008

Giovanni Bottesini’s father was so intent on his musically gifted son entering the Milan Conservatoire that when he found there were only places left for a bassoonist and double bass, he had his son taught the double bass in a matter of weeks to pass the entry exam. Once enrolled the young Giovanni was found to be so gifted that four years later he emerged as the 19th century’s greatest exponent. Named “the Paganini of the Double Bass”, he Giovanni Bottesini toured bemused audiences playing with such brilliance on an instrument unknown in the solo world. The problem he faced was a lack of music to show his virtuosity, a situation he had to rectify by composing his own music. Today it is those works that carry his name forward, his substantial catalogue of chamber music and light operas now totally forgotten. This disc does, at least, awaken interest in his stage works by including the well-crafted overtures to Ero e Leandro, Il diavolo della notte and Ali Baba. It is said that had Verdi not overshadowed all others, Bottesini’s operas would have found a place in the Italian repertoire. Even so the disc will be bought for the inclusion of the acrobatic Double Bass Concertino; the Passioni amorose for double bass duo and the Duo Concertante on Themes from Bellini’s I Puritani. Even as instrumental techniques improve, these three score still present soloists with the ultimate test of skill. They are played by Thomas Martin, the American trained bassist whose international fame came as principal double bass of the London Symphony, and more recently as a touring soloist who also enjoys a busy life as creator of double basses. He is joined by the Italian, Franco Petracchi, in the high-jinks of the double ‘concerto’, and by LSO’s principal cello, Moray Welsh, in the Duo Concertante. The accompaniment comes from the LSO with Petracchi conducting, and though at the time of my first review I questioned moments of sour intonation, I happily reiterate my generally favourable opinion of the disc when it was first released on the ASV label in 1994.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group