“The Lyrical Bassoon” = SAINT-SAENS: Sonata, Op. 168; HINDEMITH: Sonata; DUTILLEUX: Sarabande et Cortege; ELGAR: Romance, Op. 62; TANSMAN: Sonatine; KOECHLIN: Sonata, Op. 71; KVANDAL: Legende, Op. 61 – Per Hannisdal, bassoon/ Vebjorn Anvik, piano – 2L multichannel SACD 2L 97, 52:47 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
It is especially gratifying to see a disc for wind instrument and piano in the SACD format; I have argued for years that though many companies salivate over the idea of putting huge and colorful orchestral formats in hi-res, smaller groups work equally as well, and this disc is a perfect example of that, the bassoon and piano balanced perfectly in a harmonious and gracious aural acoustic that will thrill the short hairs of any person considering himself even remotely an audiophile listener.
The program is great also; if you haven’t heard the Saint-Saens Bassoon Sonata then you haven’t lived, not if you are a classical music fan, for it is one of the most gorgeous pieces that ever seeped from his hands, the opening bars alone worth the price of admission. I haven’t heard such rapturous playing since former Chicago Symphony Orchestra bassoonist Bruce Grainger took a swipe at this piece—and some other really fines ones—on a Centaur disc back in 1996. Hannisdal, Principal Bassoonist of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra since 1978, has one terrific tone and technique to match it.
The rest of this program is equally entertaining, serious and rewarding. 2L’s state-of-the-art sound shows how this sort of thing is done, and we can all be grateful they have offered such a fine pair of instrumentalists to show their stuff in 21st-century sound. An enthusiastic recommendation!