Concerti for Trumpet, Corno da Caccia, Bassoon and Orchestra (Hummel, Lachner and Weber)
Guy Few: trumpet, corno da caccia
Nadina Mackie Jackson: bassoon
Toronto Chamber Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan
Glittering virtuosic nineteenth century showpieces for trumpet, bassoon and corno da caccia with full orchestra including the recently revived double Concertino by Ignaz Lachner for corno and bassoon, conducted by the evanescent and incomparable Nic McGegan.
ROMANZA is the second disc in the long term recording and commissioning project directed by Nadina Mackie Jackson and Guy Few with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, pairing double concerti with solo concerti for trumpet and bassoon. The title of this recording is inspired by the lyrical slow movements that figure in each of these nineteenth century concerti for trumpet, bassoon, corno and orchestra.
Courtly yet amiable, the romanza frequently followed a rondo pattern and was the perfect vehicle for the wind virtuosi of the nineteenth century, players demonstrably capable of delicately persuasive expression and dazzling flights of fingers.
The three composers on this recording, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Lachner and Carl Maria von Weber, were all were renowned as opera composers and directors. Written in a time when wind soloists were much more common than today, these bel canto concerti give leading roles to the trumpet, corno and bassoon within the texture of the full orchestra.
"[The Hummel and Lachner] performances are exciting renditions of historical works played with a tremendous amount of zeal and vigor. Above all, Few’s playing demonstrates the dynamic and stylistic variation possible on the instrument. The outer movements of Hummel’s concerto are pristine, played with a marvelous brilliance and clarity of articulation. Few achieves a wide dynamic range to establish each of the contrasting themes. In the middle movement he displays lyrical playing with a singing quality that blends extremely well with the strings. A real treat for this reviewer is the performance of the Lachner Concertino on corno da caccia. The mellow sound of the conical-bored corno blends nicely with the bassoon, allowing for an equal partnership without overpowering the double reed instrument. The manner in which the bassoon and corno interact is outstanding in this seldom-heard work. Additionally, both players demonstrate their virtuosity in soloistic passages, as well as ensemble sensitivity during the combined passages. ...this recording is well worth the investment to have these performances in one’s archive."
David Bohnert, ITG Journal. January 2010
"[In the Hummel Trumpet Concerto] virtuoso Guy Few plays in a mellifluous legato... [this] is a well-polished gem that should please those familiar with the work... The Andante is particularly luscious and lingers in the senses like the memory of a gourmet meal long after it has been consumed... Hummel's Grand Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra delivers all the excitement and freshness one could hope for. Jackson 's chops are fantastic... Her playing can be described as nothing short of saucy and supremely confident; those who love the bassoon would be hard-pressed to find more liquidity and precision of articulation. Jackson removes all doubts as to the bassoon being a born solo instrument: the Romanza contains the most delicious, heart-achingly sincere bassoon cadenza I’ve ever heard... In a unique offering, the two virtuosi pair up for Lachner's Concertino. This work presents a canvas that allows the masterful concertino free reign; their lightning-quick parallel runs are breathtakingly exact. To McGegan's credit, the maestro's fingerprint is nowhere too distinct—the immensely capable soloists constantly shine through the even texture. Everyone seems to expect nothing but the best from McGegan, and thanks to the wonderful soloists this recording certainly lives up to that standard.”
Northwest Reverb. April 2009
"...these performances are top notch... Mr. Few's performance of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto is clean and polished. Phrases are crafted to perfection, and his tone is rounded to a point of fascination. Ms. Jackson's performance of the concerto is also made her own... This pair of performers is indeed a good one, and I am glad they are collaborating as much as they have. Let us hope that this collaboration continues.”
American Record Guide. March/April 2009
"Guy Few begins the CD beautifully with an excellent interpretation of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto. [In the Bassoon Concerto] Nadina's interpretation...gives us three impressive 'lessons'. The first is in exquisite double-tonguing, the second is in equally exquisite lyricism, and in the third it is making us literally want to 'dance' to her interpretation... this recording is the very best of the Hummel Bassoon Concerto since John Miller's landmark disc of the 1960s. It makes the CD worth getting for this work alone! The entire CD is a delightful 'journey' through the age of Romanticism...A final singular word about the marvelous Toronto Chamber Orchestra and its conductor Nicolas McGegan needs to be added: Perfecto! They do an incredible job throughout, giving the two artists a luscious 'canvas' upon which they can freely 'paint' their magical sonorities...state of the art 'concert-hall' recording technique, and you have a CD that is equally Perfecto: a fabulous recording that I cannot recommend highly enough. Once again I am dazzled by Nadina's musical prowess on the bassoon and profoundly jealous of her formidable technique. Braves to all involved in this recording!”
Rating: 5 Crows! The Double Reed. December 2008
"Seductively and shimmeringly gorgeous…”
World Magazine. June 2008
"This latest release by Ms. Jackson couples her once again with trumpet wiz Guy Few in a superb program consisting of some wonderful music... The Hummel Trumpet Concerto is played here to perfection by Few, with ample and gracious support from the reliable Toronto players. [Few provides a] vigorous performance that ensures full competitive standing... my favorite [Hummel] Bassoon Concerto to this date (that of Dag Jensen on a Capriccio release) cannot really top this wonderful reading by Jackson, one of the best, if not the best on disc. This is a wonderfully proportioned reading that simply sparkles. [The Lachner] piece is a gem, playing to the instruments in a really facile manner, and keeping your attention easily... Jackson’s reading [of the Weber] meets all challenges while kicking up a lot of dust in the dizzy final pages, great fun and spirited playing. The sound is very naturally captured, as are all of the best MSR releases, without undue microphone placement on the soloists. As mentioned, the orchestra is up to the high standards set by the soloists, and I cannot imagine a better put together recital, for the specialist and the generalist—you will love it."
Audiophile Audition. August 2008
"Few and Jackson’s remarkable virtuosity… most striking trumpet playing, strong, confident, very secure in the high register…dark, burnished and sensuous way of playing the bassoon…”
American Record Guide. 2008
“Few and Jackson play with polished tone, immaculate intonation and infectious high spirits; its obvious they are having a blast.”
All Music Guide. 2007
“…stunningly beautiful in every way… pure virtuosity… gorgeously together and breathtakingly in tune…"
The Double Reed. Spring 2007