Judith Farmer plays favorites

Bassonist Judith Farmer’s CD Judith Farmer plays favorites goes a long ways to dispel any prejudices the listener might have against the bassoon, that rangy and most underused of the woodwinds, its often reedy, at times sneaky, at others grandfatherly sound occasionally brought to life by enterprising composers like Stravinsky in The Rite of Spring and Paul Dukas in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Displaying easy comfort with the technical hurdles of her instrument bassoonist Judith Farmer’s can elicit sounds that are very pleasing to the ear in the playfully elegant Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon by Francis Poulenc, an early 20th century three-movement composition that dallies with atonality during its brief nine minutes duration and that allows clarinetist Wenzel Fuchs to share center stage with Judith Farmer.

Likewise, this fine artist can make the Sonata in C Major by the neglected and incredibly prolific Johann Friedrich Fasch, a Baroque composition worth re-visiting, given Farmer’s idiomatic command of 18th century performance practice. The performance is greatly enhanced by the fine playing of harpsichordist Patricia Mabee and cellist Andrew Shulman.

Interferénces I, a nervous, jagged, episodic work allows the bassoonist the opportunity to display technical dexterity, which Judith Farmer does with fine support from pianist Vicky Ray.

My favorite piece in the CD is Gernot Wolfgang’s Duo for Flute and Bassoon No.1, a jazz-inflected, fun, contrapuntally intricate tour de force for the bassoonist and flutist Susan Greenberg.

Produced by Gernot Wolfgang and Judith Farmer, mixed and mastered by Rich Breen and edited by Gernot Wolfgang, Judith Farmer plays favorites is a labor of love most welcome during these days of musical deprivation.

The album can be purchased as a download at Amazon.com:

Rafael de Acha