Reviews for
Mozart's Concerto for the Bassoon
mozart and well beyond


“... a sensitive and sculpted reading of Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto by soloist Michael Sweeney is the highlight of this disc ...

“... Sweeney’s lambent timbre is as much an advocate for his new edition of the Mozart concerto as his solid musicological work, bolstered by well-reasoned use of contemporary sources. Sweeney glides through the piece with stunning suppleness, but his virtuosity is always self-effacing. While he has not refashioned this work as a flashier vehicle for the basson – his cadenzas, embellishments and lead-ins exceptionally match the spirit of the concerto – his research into textual authenticity does not drain energy and spontaneity from his performance.”

Andrew Druckenbrod
- The Gramophone -
June 2005

complete review


“The Mozart Bassoon Concerto itself is not receiving its premiere recording, of course, but Sweeney’s edition of it is. His modifications include reducing the accompaniment to one player to a part when the soloist is playing (with only string bass, rather than cello, on the single-line basso e violoncello line) and using flutes (rather than oboes) with the muted strings in the slow movement. For the listener, the abrupt change of instrumental density–from full orchestra to what is essentially a bassoon quintet–when the soloist enters takes a little getting used to, but the flute and muted strings sonority is instantly enchanting.”

Robert Jordan
- Opus magazine -


“[Michael Sweeney] has undeniably achieved his original aim of a ‘fresh perspective’ on [Mozart's Concerto for the Bassoon].”

Elissa Poole
- Opus magazine -

complete article


“Many other recordings [of Mozart's Concerto for the Bassoon] testify to the fact that lots of added technique, for the sake of display, is undesirable. … Some bassoonists… embellished the music with flashy technique and stunned audiences with their dexterity and double-tonguing. Mr Sweeney presents the argument that the embellishments should have been there in the first place.
“The first movement strikes the ear as more nuanced: grace notes are stylized … and there is a use of terrace-like dynamics, and shadow effects in the orchestra. The cadenza … [is] technically and aesthetically satisfying. Most appealing of all is the second movement; it comes across unlike any other performance I have heard. Contrary to the conventional style, which seems [sombre] and stately, this is bright and stately – and a little faster.
“The Seiler Strings balance extremely well with Mr Sweeney in all of the pieces. Most catching are the prominent principal string parts in the second movement of the Mozart Concerto and the principal flute part that shares the stage with the solo line. This balance of parts sheds new light on the music.”

David Schwartz
- American Record Guide -


“[mozart and well beyond] begins with the premier recording of Michael’s own new edition and cadenzas to the Mozart K.191, based upon the latest scholarship, which he explains in detail in the excellent program notes accompanying the CD. These include changes in instrumentation (extensive use of the string quartet - 2 violins, viola and double bass - in accompaniment passages, substitution of the flutes for the oboes in the slow movement, etc.), and different interpretations of the ornamentation of passages based on Mozart’s own practice. The result is, indeed, a fresh and, if you will ‘premier’ interpretation of our most cherished composition. I am very impressed with what Michael has done. Besides his excellent interpretation of the music he has provided us with some beautiful, new, not-overly-done cadenzas and lead-ins that add a wonderful sense of ‘newness’ to the work. Combine that with the sensitivity of the orchestral accompaniment and you have an exciting new interpretation indeed.”

Ronald Klimko
- The Double Reed -
Quarterly Journal of the International Double Reed Society


« Ce qu’il y a d’intéressant dans le Mozart, c’est que M. Sweeney ... a fait des recherches pour reconstituer ce manuscrit et dans les notes de pochette qui sont remarquablement bien faites, en français [et] en anglais, ... vous trouvez les explications de sa démarche.

« Michael Sweeney a aussi retravaillé l’ornementation, qui est vraiment fort bien faite. »

- SRC : « Espace Musique » - (Sylvia L'Écuyer, animatrice)



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