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A tour de force, Azzolini’s command of these concertos is breathtaking, maximising the power of Vivaldi’s music with an expressive palette beyond that often expected of period instruments. Seven of the composer’s 37 complete bassoon concertos are recorded here, carefully chosen to form a captivating programme. Azzolini switches effortlessly from full-blooded pyrotechnics to heart-rending pathos, always capturing the prevailing mood of the writing. Slow movements can find Vivaldi at his most beguilingly creative and there are several gems here; the Largo from the Concerto in A minor RV 499 is a marvel, demanding repeated listening. L’Aura Soave Cremona matches Azzolini’s verve and panache at every step. The continuo team (replete with three players on plucked instruments) merits special mention, turning passages for solo bassoon and continuo into a kaleidoscope of light and shade.

Chris Hartland Read the full review on Agora Classica

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