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Classical Music Review

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Judith Farmer Plays Favorites


Composers: Johann Friedrich Fasch, Gernot Wolfgang, Roger Boutry and Francis Poulenc
Performed by: Judith Farmer,
Label: VSIP Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 December 2020

Judith Farmer releases a collection of classical works for bassoon via VSIP Records. Judith Farmer Plays Favorites is a labour of love that originated in 2001, when she recorded pieces by Roger Boutry, Johann Friedrich Fasch, and her husband's (Gernot Wolfgang) 'Duo for Flute and Bassoon No.1', at USC Newman Recital Hall in Los Angeles. Almost 20 years later these recordings have been edited and released for classical fans to enjoy...

Judith Farmer is joined on these recordings by Susan Greenberg (flute), Patricia Mabee (harpsichord), Vicki Ray (piano) and Andrew Shulman (violoncello). For this album, Farmer also acquired the rights from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF to her 1990 recording of Francis Poulenc's 'Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon'. Her fellow musician at the time was current principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic, Wenzel Fuchs.

It's interesting because when I received this tracks for review I stuck them straight into iTunes and played the album a few times and it just didn't work for me... and I couldn't work out why. Then I realised that the album was playing the tracks in alphabetical order. Once I reworked them so they were ordered in the same way as the album was supposed to be played everything seemed to flow much more naturally.

There's an interesting mix of styles here that not only gives the bassoon the chance to show how versatile it is, but it also gives Farmer the opportunity to showcase her approach and style to very different pieces.

I think I was most struck by Gernot Wolfgang's 'Duo for Flute and Bassoon No. 1', which really surprised me. I'm not usually a fan of this style of music as it usually follows a set formula. Two very different instruments playing very different pieces before joining together to create a harmonious tune as they dance around one another... before (usually) going their separate paths again. However, Wolfgang's piece really got to me and I really got on board with the flute / bassoon relationship here. Both very different instruments; both complimenting each other and supporting the other as the piece progresses.

This is a wonderfully intimate collection that focuses on an instrument that never seems to get the recognition it so rightly deserves.

Track listing:

Johann Friedrich Fasch
Sonata for Bassoon and Basso Continuo
01 - I. Largo
02 - II. Allegro
03 - III. Andante
04 - IV. Allegro

Gernot Wolfgang
05 - Duo for Flute and Bassoon No. 1

Roger Boutry
06 - Interferénces I

Francis Poulenc
Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon
07 - I. Allegro
08 - II. Romance
09 - III. Final


Darren Rea

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