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Vivaldi's Concerti per fagotto V out 4/16: Sergio Azzolini and L’Onda Armonica perform on Naïve Classiques 66th Vivaldi Edition Album

April 6, 2021 | By Rebecca Davis
Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto V: Sergio Azzolini and L’Onda Armonica perform on Naïve Classiques 66th Vivaldi Edition Album, the fifth in its series of bassoon concertos, out April 16, 2021

Azzolini’s lusty blowing, irrepressible playfulness and ardent lyricism brought Vivaldi’s bassoon concertos surging into life and made of the solo instrument itself a character of real vitality and depth. As another of those distinctive Naïve covers popped out of the envelope, anticipation was in the air.” – Gramophone (On Concerto per fagotto II)

NEW YORK, NY – April 6, 2021 – On April 16, Naïve Classiques will release of the fifth volume of Vivaldi’s bassoon concertos, Concerti per fagotto V, the 66th album in the French label’s Vivaldi Edition devoted to newly rediscovered manuscripts of Vivaldi’s works housed at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin. Vivaldi’s catalogue of works for bassoon are remarkable, both in number and for his soloistic treatment of an instrument previously confined to the continuo. Seven concertos here join the twenty-six already recorded in the first four volumes of the Vivaldi Edition, an anthology Sergio Azzolini embarked on in 2009 with L’Aura Soave, and now builds on with L’Onda Armonica.

“[Sergio Azzolini] has a gift for characterizing every melody in an almost magical way,” wrote Early Music Review of his first volume of Vivaldi concertos, released in 2010. In this fifth album, the Italian bassoonist and his ensemble renew their commitment to the repertoire, with its virtuoso demands not just on the soloist, but also on the orchestra. Though the pieces were originally conceived for a string ensemble, Azzolini chose to enhance the orchestra with woodwinds, theorbo, lute, guitar, harp, organ and harpsichord after an intensive study of the Vivaldi scores preserved in the Dresden library revealed a whole series of compositions colored by the addition of wind instruments. This expanded ensemble gives these concertos a dramatic character, underlined by the bassoon in lyrical and elegiac passages just as much as in its moments of joyful brilliance. 

“Vivaldi is an incommensurable genius, capable of touching everyone’s heart and instilling a sense of immortal hope,” says Azzolini. “Perhaps Vivaldi himself, when he performed untitled pieces with the musicians of the Ospedale della Pietà, opened these musical jewel boxes and described the treasures hidden inside them and the concrete images he had in mind.”

A first listen of Concerti per fagotto V can be found HERE

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerti per fagotto V

Sergio Azzolini, bassoon - L’Onda Armonica

Concerto RV 497 in A minor

Concerto RV 476 in C Major

Concerto RV 486 in F Major

Concerto RV 481 in D minor

Concerto RV 467 in C Major

Concerto RV 489 in F Major

Concerto RV 479 in C Major

ABOUT SERGIO AZZOLINI

Sergio Azzolini was born in Bolzano in 1967. He began his studies with Romano Santi in his hometown and pursued them with Klaus Thunemann in Hanover, while already appearing as principal bassoonist of the European Community Youth Orchestra. He was awarded prizes at, among others, the C. M. von Weber Competition, the Prague Spring Competition and the ARD Competition, where he also won First Prize with the Ma’a lot Quintet, an ensemble he played with for ten years. Alongside his career as a soloist on the modern bassoon, Sergio Azzolini has focused on performing early music on period instruments. He has played the Baroque bassoon with the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Concentus Musicus Wien, Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca, L’Aura Soave Cremona, La Stravaganza Köln, the Holland Baroque Society, the Händel-Festspielorchester Halle and Accademia Bizantina. Since 2013 one of his chief focuses has been his own Baroque orchestra, L’Onda Armonica. Earlier in his career, Azzolini was the artistic director of Kammerakademie Potsdam for five years. During his time there, he organized many concerts with music ranging from Baroque to avant-garde as well as four productions of operas. Today, Sergio Azzolini is in great demand internationally as a conductor and soloist working with both Baroque ensembles and orchestras on music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His extensive discography reveals an exceptional diversity of styles. He is currently in the process of recording the complete Vivaldi bassoon concertos for naïve. Since 1998, Sergio Azzolini has been professor of bassoon and chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel.  

ABOUT L’ONDA ARMONICA

The desire to share an individual performing style in early music led Sergio Azzolini to form L’Onda Armonica in 2013. The name of the ensemble (literally, “the harmonic wave”) refers to the ensemble’s characteristic taste for lyrical and linear interpretations and for harmonious phrasing. It also derives from the title of several arias by Vivaldi, namely “L’onda, che mormora”, “Come l’onda”, and “Geme l’onda che parte.” The group’s main aim is to immerse itself deeply in the repertory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the Italian style and its dissemination in European Baroque music. The many manuscripts preserved in Dresden, partly in the hand of Johann Georg Pisendel, represent a very important source of inspiration for L’Onda Armonica, which thrives on rediscovering forgotten works and creating new experiences. In 2017 they also recorded for the Vivaldi Edition Concerti per violoncello III with the cellist Christophe Coin.

ABOUT THE VIVALDI EDITION 

In 1930, after it had repeatedly changed hands over several centuries, the Italian National Library in Turin purchased a large collection of music manuscripts in the hand of the great Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi. It was, in fact, a collection of his personal music scores found in his home at the time of his death. Though the event was heralded worldwide as a major cultural discovery when purchased the archive was subsequently little exploited, in great part due to a lack of knowledge of historical performance practice. It was not until the 80s and 90s that specialized musicians began to perform some of this music.

At the end of the 90s, the collection came to the attention of Alberto Basso, a highly regarded Italian musicologist and founder and director of a regional institute whose objective was the cataloguing of music archives in the Piedmont region. Working with these 18th-century scores Alberto became keenly aware of its historical and cultural importance and the need to get this extraordinary music out to the public. He approached the Parisian record label Naïve with a proposal to record the entire collection – 450 pieces of music ranging from full-scale operas to much sacred music and hundreds of instrumental concertos, and later named Susan Orlando artistic director of the recording project. “When I asked him how he had come up with the idea of recording all this music,” Susan Orlando told Opera, “he replied that the entire time he was working on the manuscripts he kept wondering how all this music could be transmitted to the public. It was quite brilliant on Basso’s part, because when you think about it a manuscript is not really alive until it is performed, while concerts are ephemeral. But by doing recordings you’re engraving this music. A fire could destroy all these manuscripts but once they’re recorded they are here to stay.”  In September of 2014, production on the Vivaldi Edition came to a halt, but it resumed in 2016 after Naïve was purchased by the Believe Group, the largest distributors of digital music in Europe.  The first release upon resuming the project was an opera in December 2017.

Artistic director Susan Orlando has divided the remaining repertoire into three releases a year until the project’s completion at the end of 2027, with the following year marking the 350th anniversary of the birth of Antonio Vivaldi.  So far, the Vivaldi Edition has sold over 850,000 CDs and engaged more than 250 artists.    
 
Until this project began, Vivaldi had been minimalized, music history books generally mentioning the Four Seasons and little else.  However, the quality of the music alone has illuminated Vivaldi as one of the leading figures in the history of Occidental music. Vivaldi was enormously famous throughout Europe in his own lifetime and was the most important Italian composer of the 18th century.  Through his prolific output of concertos, it can be proven he solidly established the 'concerto' form into a three movement fast-slow-fast structure with a defined role pitting the soloist against the rest of the ensemble, which is a form still employed by composers today.  To date, more than € 3,000,000 has been invested into this recording project, documenting the work as a reference which will be invaluable to the public and to scholars alike for many decades. 

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