CDs

Antonio Vivaldi - Soprano Cantatas

Antonio Vivaldi - Soprano Cantatas - www.heliconrecords.com

Randall Wong - Soprano
Linda Burman-Hall - Harpsichord
Paul Hale - Violoncello
Elizabeth Blumenstock - Violin
Leta Miller - Flute
Michael Dollendorf - Bassoon

Five of the most extraordinary Cantatas for Soprano, that cover a wide range of emotions as well as pitch.
Randy is totally amazing on this, going from Alto range up into the stratosphere. We played some of these pieces at the Berkeley and Santa Cruz Festivals before going into the recording sessions. Most movements were done in a single take. Total bliss!

And some candy for the fiddle players - Elizabeth had borrowed an original Strad in Baroque set-up for this recording!

Sorge vermiglia in ciel
All'ombra di sospetto
Amor, hai vinto
La farfalletta s'aggira al lume
Lungi dal vago volto

Jean-Philippe Rameau - Castor & Pollux

Jean-Philippe Rameau - Castor & Pollux - harmonia mundi France

Tragedie lyrique en un prologue et cinq actes
Liveret de Pierre Joseph Bernhard
Créée à Paris, Académie Royale de Musique,
24 octobre 1737

Les Arts Florissants
Dir. William Christie

Michael Dollendorf - Bassoon

The best bassoon writing ever. Listen to Télaire's "Tristes apprêts, pâles flambeaux" at the beginning of the first act. Four bassoons in pianissimo. Nobody got better music for his funeral then Castor.

André Campra - Idoménée

André Campra - Idoménée - harmonia mundi France

Tragédie lyrique en un prologue et sinq actes
sur un livret d'Antoine Danchet – Version 1731

Les Arts Florissants
Dir. William Christie

Michael Dollendorf – Bassoon

My favorite movement on this one: Act IV, Scene VI, Deux Bergères. The two girls, Anne Pichard and Anne Mopin are teamed up with two musettes, these wonderful little French bagpipes, and two bassoons. I'm in the second team, my friend Jean-Louis Fiat is in the first. Listen for the nice echos!

Johann Sebastian Bach - St. John Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach - St. John Passion - Smithsonian Collection of Recordings

BWV 245 including two choruses and three arias from the 1725 version

Smithsonian Chamber Players and Chorus
Dir. Kenneth Slowik

Michael Dollendorf - Contrabassoon

To my knowledge this is the first recording ever to include the contrabassoon Bach asked for, when he revised the St. John Passion in 1725. My instrument is a copy of the instrument by Thomas Stanesby, London, 1739, now at the National Museum of Ireland. It was made in 1984 by G. & M. Lyndon-Jones. I choose this back then, because the orchestra was playing at a=415 as most bands, even though we know that Bach's pitch would have been quite lower and so is the contrabassoon by Andreas Eichentopf, that would have been a natural choice.

Years later I recorded with the Baroque Orchestra of Ireland, Dir. Kevin Mallon, on the Stanesby in Dublin and took my instrument to the museum. The very friendly staff was very interested to hear me play the copy.

George Frideric Handel - Susanna

George Frideric Handel - Susanna - harmonia mundi France

An Oratorio as it is performed at the
Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden 1748

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Dir. Nicholas McGegan

Michael Dollendorf - Contrabassoon

It was Handel who loved the contrabassoon and included it in his oratorio performances and in the 'Music for the Royal Firework'. In fact he asked for four of them and twelfe normal bassoons. One of the original parts is in 'Alexander's Feast', which we did with Philharmonia the year before Susanna. It sounded great and so Nick asked me to play contra on the Susanna recording as well.
My favorite scene on this: Part I, Scene 1, William Parker singing Chelias "Peace crown'd with roses". His wonderful deep mellow voice and the contrabassoon below make a perfect match. He is much missed.