BASSOON and PIANO - Rodion Tolmachev

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BASSOON and PIANO - Rodion Tolmachev (Bassoon) - Midori Kitagawa (Piano) - 760623172828 - Released: April 2012 - MDG 6031728

1) Camille Saint-Saëns - Sonate pour basson et piano Op. 168
2) Eugène Bozza - Nocturne-Danse
3) Roger Boutry - Interférences pour basson et piano
4) Jean Françaix - Deux pièces pour basson et piano
5) Alain Bernaud - Hallucinations pour basson et piano
6) Marcel Bitsch - Concertino pour basson et piano
7) Eugène Bozza - Récit, Sicilienne et Rondo
8) Alexandre Tansman - Sonatine
9) Pierre-Max Dubois - Sonatine-Tango

If this, his first recording, is any indication, Rodion Tolmachev, principal bassoonist at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, is well on his way to capture the world's attention. He has already won many competitions and been the recipient of prestigious awards. This new recording should go a long way in establishing his name and reputation outside of the woodwind circles. His technique is marked by pinpoint accuracy, supported by a very fluid and lyrical delivery, almost like the smooth melodic lines of a jazz saxophonist. The bassoon he plays is a wonderful instrument made by the woodwind specialist J. Püchner which produces a warm and supple tone that is tailor-made to his technique.

All the pieces on this CD are by French composers, or composers who lived and studied in France, and therefore share a common casual and nonchalant style, something French composers excel at particularly in chamber music. Surprisingly enough, the more interesting works are those by the lesser known composers Bozza, Bernaud, Boutry and Bitsch, all of them more or less specialists at writing music for woodwind and/or brass instruments. The Concertino pour basson et piano by Marcel Bitsch in particular, has all the urban sophistication of a Ravel piano concerto, controlled by a melodic line as cool and refreshing as a countryside evening. It really brings out Tolmachev's best qualities.

Pianist Midori Kitagawa never fails to provide the perfect backdrop, from the classical contours of the Saint-Saëns to the dark discordance of the Bernaud, her support is always at the bassoon's service, but listen closely enough and it's evident she should release some of her own solo recordings. Their volatile, rapid fire timing as in the final movement of the Dubois, is like clockwork. Enjoyable all around!

Jean-Yves Duperron - May 2012