For the popular young bassoonist Karen Geoghegan this is her third recording with Chandos and aptly demonstrates the capabilities of the bassoon in this unique collection of French music, ably accompanied by Philip Fisher.
BBC Music Magazine wrote of her first disc ‘Geoghegan has real expressive maturity too. Elgar’s Romance is heavenly and, as an encore, Gershwin’s Summertime deliciously dreamy, showing off a glorious tone, coloured with gentle restrained vibrato… Buy it and share in the fun.' Whilst Double Reed Society wrote, 'This is a marvellous start with which to launch one’s career. Karen should be congratulated on her achievement. I can truly say that I look forward to following her progression as she develops as a soloist and matures her style.'
This appealing collection of French compositions and arrangements for bassoon and piano not only illustrates the variety and ingenuity with which French composers have written for this neglected instrument, it also highlights the importance of the Paris Conservatoire and the role of the famous Prix du Rome in nurturing generation upon generation of gifted instrumentalists and composers. This set comprises works from 1800 through to 1972, and brings together the works of Debussy, Faure, Koechlin, Pierné, Dutilleux along with the lesser known composers of Jancourt, Boutry and Bitsch.
Jancourt’s Nocturne (d’apres John Field) and Debussy’s Piano Preludes arranged for bassoon and piano here receive their premiere recordings.
“Here is an exceptional young musician - technically highly accomplished and to whom lyrical, mellifluous playing seems to come as naturally as wit and charm - at long last raising the profile of the orchestra's Cinderella.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009
“Closely shadowed by pianist Philip Fisher, Geoghegan shows elegance, wit, a gorgeous sound and a bulletproof technique.” The Independent on Sunday, 3rd May 2009
“She’s only 20, but her agility and subtlety are already awesome. Who said the bassoon couldn’t be lyrical? Some of the music has meat, too, such as Dutilleux’s Sarabande et Cortège and the Koechlin Sonata. Philip Fisher’s piano accompaniments are most adroit.” The Times, 4th July 2009
“…a thoughtful and inventive programme, performed with tremendous style. …Geoghegan is a spirited advocate of these gems. Her beautiful account of Jancourt's Nocturne typifies her combination of natural musicality an exquisite tone…” BBC Music Magazine, July 2009 ****
“Here is an exceptional young musician – technically highly accomplished and to whom lyrical, mellifluous playing seems to come as naturally as wit and charm – at long last raising the profile of the orchestra's Cinderella. The instrument's solo literature is comparatively sparse and one supposes that bassoonists are grateful for any morsel (or, in this case, morceau) that comes their way. The problem here is that although many of the works are digitally, respiratorially and musically challenging (several written as test pieces for the Paris Conservatoire), not all of them are terribly good. And there is only so much indistinguishable Gallic caprice one can take at a sitting, as the sequence of Boutry, Gallon, Dutilleux and Bitsch items makes plain.
But there are few enough discs on the market that demonstrate the bassoon's expressive range in such an imaginative programme, the rather distant sound focus of the two instruments notwithstanding.
Geoghegan is one of those naturally gifted artists who can make a persuasive case for pieces like Grovlez's Sicilienne et Allegrogiocoso, Tansman's Sonatine and Pierné's Solo deconcert. The Jancourt and three Debussy titles (transcribed by Bronislav Prorvich) are first recordings, the latter proving surprisingly effective encores.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010