Karen Geoghegan

0 of 5 stars

Hummel
Grand Concerto in F
Weber
Andante e Rondo ungarese, Op.35
Berwald
Konzertstück in F
Jacobi
Introduction and Polonaise, Op.9
Elgar
Romance, Op.62
Gershwin
Porgy and Bess – Summertime [arr. David Arnold]

Karen Geoghegan (bassoon)

Orchestra of Opera North
Benjamin Wallfisch


Reviewed by: Nick Breckenfield

Reviewed: August 2008
CD No: CHANDOS CHAN 10477
Duration: 64 minutes

Geoghegan’s playing never seems effortful, and her virtuosic passages tread the fine line between being over-literal and too comic. Indeed she skilfully captures the genial humour of the instrument which marks it out from all others, and has a consistency of tone to match. While the Grand Concerto by Hummel (once a pupil of Mozart’s and who shared the same teachers as Beethoven) is the main work, perhaps more enjoyable are the Weber Introduction and Hungarian Rondo (probably the best-known work here) and the two rarities, Berwald’s Concert Piece and, on a distinctly similar plan to the Weber, Jacobi’s Introduction and Polonaise. All three pitch the bassoon’s ability at pathos and patter just right and Geoghegan is clearly enjoying playing them.

There is another reason for the success of this disc: the partnership between Benjamin Wallfisch and the Orchestra of Opera North. While the balance on the recording tends to recess the orchestral sound (I’m sure that will be different when the Orchestra can record in its own home, the Assembly Room in Leeds, due to open later this year, 2008, as part of the ongoing refurbishment of the Grand Theatre and Opera House, home of Opera North), the orchestral playing nevertheless has panache. It sounds as if everybody concerned was having a good time; which is why, perhaps, I had such a good time listening. Calum MacDonald’s booklet note is excellent too.

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