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GRAMOPHONE (09/2010)
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Reviewer: Lindsay Kemp

... Naïve’s mammoth Vivaldi project makes its start on the 39 bassoon concertos with a first volume of seven from Italian virtuoso Sergio Azzolini and newcomer-orchestra to the series, L’Aura Soave Cremona. We must hope that they put the remaining 32 in Azzolini’s hands, too, because this release reveals him to be a Baroque musician on a high level of imagination and inspiration. Like many he makes bold strokes – slowing the music then accelerating away again, relishing the latent jazziness in the opening of RV503, “winding down” the ends of RV495 and 503 – but there is never a hint of gratuitousness or bad taste.


In music that everyone knows can sound routine, he shapes and characterises every movement, seeks out hitherto unremarked beauties, makes it speak. He is clearly not kidding when he says he sees “demoniacal apparitions” in RV495 or envisions the lagoon in RV493 and 484, but he does not hit the listener over the head with such ideas; rather he uses them to make these concertos all the more attractive and fascinating. This is music-making to cherish.

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