Johann Wilhelm Hertel: Con Spirito

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HERTEL Concertos and Symphonies Dominik Kiefer, cond; Sergio Azzolini (bn); Capriccio Baroque O (period instruments) TUDOR 7182 (82:11)

Johann Wilhelm Hertel, born in 1722, was a Baroque composer whose name is vaguely familiar to me but whose music is not at all part of my listening repertoire. Following his father’s footsteps, and eventually exceeding his father’s musical accomplishments, Hertel displayed great musical erudition as he strove to spread the knowledge of music and contribute to its development. This CD consists of three bassoon concertos and three sinfonias, placed alternately on the disc, presenting more than 82 minutes of impressive Baroque music. At 2:11 greater than the putative 80-minute limit, is this a world record?

The Capriccio Baroque Orchestra (also called Capriccio Basel), founded in 1999, has a repertoire that includes Baroque, Classical, and early-Romantic works. It plays on period instruments with a sound that is both authentic and pleasing, and the current disc is a good example of its period-authentic manner. Dominik Kiefer is the artistic director and leader of Capriccio Basel. He began his studies on modern violin, but shifted to the Baroque violin and historical performance practice. He has become one of Switzerland’s foremost authorities in the field.

Sergio Azzolini is a 45-year-old Italian-born bassoonist. When barely in his 20s, he was first bassoonist in the European Community Youth Orchestra. A winner of several competitions, he plays both modern and Baroque bassoon. In 1996, he was appointed professor for bassoon and for chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel.

My previous ignorance now admitted, Hertel was an important figure in Baroque music as it influenced the Classical forms that followed. This disc provides an excellent example of Hertel’s contribution to the field, with the added advantage of an excellent set of performances.

FANFARE: Burton Rothleder

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: T7182

  • UPC: 812973011828

  • Label: Tudor

  • Composer: Johann Wilhelm Hertel

  • Conductor: Dominik Kiefer

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Capriccio Basel

  • Performer: Miho Fukui, Sergio Azzolini