Known to his contemporaries as the Paganini of the double bass, Giovanni Bottesini significantly extended the technical possibilities of the instrument both as a composer and virtuoso soloist. After the Prelude to Ero e Leandro, Bottesini’s greatest operatic masterpiece, this disc continues with the most popular of his compositions for the instrument among bassists today, the Concertino in C minor. In this work virtuosity is always at the service of musical ends. The rarely performed Duo Concertante for Cello and Double Bass on Themes from Bellini’s I Puritani makes considerable technical demands of the soloists.
"This is the second volume Naxos has released in their Bottesini Collection. The doublebass composer and virtuoso—who lived 1821–1889—was considered at the time the Paganini of the doublebass and was also a renowned conductor who traveled the world performing. He extended the range of what the doublebass could do in many areas. The three-movement Concertino is popular with bassists today. It is a virtuoso piece but also of high quality musically. The Duo Concertante pits a doublebass and a cello against the symphony orchestra and demands virtuoso playing from both soloists. In the Passioni amorose we have a small concertino for two basses plus orchestra. Bottesini wrote several operas, and three selections on the program employ themes from some of them. The instrumental transcriptions got more exposure for some of his operatic music since his operas were up against the extreme popularity of Verdi at the time. Naxos’ reproduction of the doublebasses is first rate; you will probably appreciate it more if you have at least one subwoofer in your system." *****
"... you could hardly imagine the music better performed by all concerned and the recording is fine if you turn the volume up slightly…As usual with Naxos, the notes are brief but informative. Gaspare nello Vettro’s general notes on Bottesini and Thomas Martin’s on the music overlap slightly, but they are none the worse for that. Martin himself seems to be as great an aficionado of the bass as Bottesini himself —not only does he play the instrument, he also makes them—over 140 according to the notes."