CD: Romance and Caprice MSR 1172

Frank Morelli, bassoon; Gilbert Kalish, piano; Harry Searing, bassoon

"The essence of this recording becomes almost immediately apparent. Each piece is tied to the other by this contrast of the tragic and the comic-the juxtaposition of the bassoon as clown of the orchestra and as a melancholy and mournful instrument. The pieces Frank Morelli has programmed display the soul of this insrurment very well.

"The Schumann Romances were written for oboe and piano, though many different instruments have taken them up...Morelli performs these lyrical pieces with a spell-binding sotto voce...

"Comparing this recording of the Saint-Saens to several others by noted European performers...it is clear that Morelli's recording has what is wonderful about American-style playing: there is a great breadth and expanse to his sound. The sometimes rigid consistency of tone across the instrument's range in European bassoonists' sound is not present in Morelli's sound, but replaced by an affectionate warmth and flexibility."

Compared to other recordings of [Weber's Andante and Hungarian Rondo], Morelli's is the first I can recall where each of the 16th-note triplets at the end is articulated. This is quite the spectacle.

"Lastly, there is Caprice 24 from Paganini's 24 Caprices for solo violin. There are performers who simply have to challenge their comrades and audiences. Paganini wrote his caprices for a virtuoso violinist; on the bassoon, these same skills are without a doubt extraordinary.

"Morelli's sensitive, robust and warm sound, and Gilbert Kalish's very fine piano breathe life and passion into these works. This is music that holds appeal to a wider audience than bassoonists or wind afficionados. I think while we wait for Frank Morelli to make another record we can all thoroughly enjoy this one."

Schwartz American Record Guide May/June 2007

 

CD: Maurice Ravel MSR 1130

Windscape

"The Mother Goose Suite is [a] major item here, and although the two-piano version disced by Argerich and Pletnev is a knockout, the woodwind version [arr. Morelli] is equally captivating."

John Sunier Audiophile Audition www.audaud.com 12/06

 

Master bassoonist delves deep into Mozart

"The popular conception that the bassoon, along with the oboe, is one of the most difficult of all musical instruments to play appeared to have been given the lie on Sunday afternoon in the University of Oregon Music School's Beall Hall.

"The Oregon Mozart Players' second concert of the 2006-07 season featured world renowned bassoonist Frank Morelli as soloist. And we, the audience, were fortunate indeed to see and hear this master musician perform, apparently effortlessly, on his chosen instrument.

"Glen Cortese...artistic director, gave the concert the sobriquet "The Magic Bassoon," a takeoff from W. A. Mozart's famous opera...and the magic was in abundance...

"The gentle orchestral opening [of Strauss' Duet Concertino] introduced Carol Robe's strong clarinet rendition of the first, languid melody...Then the magic commenced.

"Morelli coaxed the most exquisite tones from his instrument. They were at times husky, gruff and growling, and at others sweet and soaring across three octaves, but always mellow and elegant, like a fine, mature red Burgundy...

"The second piece in the program was Mozart's quite famous Bassoon Concerto in B-flat Major, K. 191, written when the composer was barely 18.

"Belying the youthfulness of its author, the work features some quite daring progressions. It also gives the soloist ample opportunity to show off his virtuosity, as well as the range and colorful tones the instrument is capable of.

"Morelli treated us to all of these attributes throughout the three-movement concerto, although the second movement (andante) was particularly effective for its serenity. I was reminded of a soft, gentle wind making delicate ripples on a quiet pond.

"The cadenza in this movement, too, was marvelously expressive, as the notes wafted quietly out of the instrument. The jolly, jaunty third movement gave soloist and orchestra plenty of opportunity to display their skills and precision."

John Farnworth, The Register Guardian (Eugene, OR) 11/8/06

 

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Mozart: Gran Partita

"Alan Vogel, oboist; David Shifrin, clarinetist; and Frank Morelli, bassoonist, were principal players in this fine performance."

Bernard Holland NY Times 5/8/06

 

CD: Maurice Ravel MSR 1130

Windscape Tara Helen O'Connor, flute, Randall Wolfgang, oboe, Alan R. Kay, clarinet, David Jolley, horn and Frank Morelli, bassoon.

Includes transcriptions by Frank Morelli of Valses nobles et sentimentales and Mother Goose, also Tombeau de Couperin and smaller works by other arrangers.

"Frank Morelli, the bassoonist, has transcribed Valses Nobles et Sentimentals and Ma Mere L'oye. Ravel wrote it in a somewhat bygone style, acknowledging his intent to imitate Schubert. Morelli's transcription is true to the music; it maintains the lushness of the original and sacrifices nothing for the sake of the smaller ensemble. Mother Goose is a delight. Ravel wrote it to evoke the "poetry of childhood", and that led him to simplify his style and writing. This transcription is also a significant contribution to the woodwind quintet repertoire.This collection of Ravel transcriptions is a priceless gem."

Schwartz American Record Guide March/April 2006

 

Premier of Brick by Marc Mellits

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

"Mr. Mellits's 20-minute piece includes a solo passage for the Orpheus bassoonist Frank Morelli, whom the composer has long admired from afar."

Barbara Jepson NY Times 2/3/06

 

Transcriptions for woodwind quintet by Frank Morelli of Mother Goose and Valses nobles et sentimentales

Frank Morelli Edition, Trevco 6003 and 6004

"Who better to make such excellent arrangements for wind quintet of these two delicate works by Ravel than Frank Morelli, the complete soloist/orchestral/ensemble musician? Indeed Frank does not disappoint in either transcription. Both are beautifully done for the quintet medium, all the while taking into consideration the original instrumentation and tonal color.""I can happily recommend these two excellent transcriptions by a very skilled and experienced hand."

Ron Klimko The Double Reed Vol 28 No. 4 December 2005

 

CD: Maurice Ravel MSR 1130

Windscape Tara Helen O'Connor, flute, Randall Wolfgang, oboe, Alan R. Kay, clarinet, David Jolley, horn and Frank Morelli, bassoon.

Includes transcriptions by Frank Morelli of Valses nobles et sentimentales and Mother Goose, also Tombeau de Couperin and smaller works by other arrangers.

"The performances are by Windscape, a virtuoso ensemble of wind-players whose members all serve as artists-in-residence at the Manhattan School of Music. The readings can be summarized as tastefully arranged, extremely well played, rather straightforward in matters of interpretation and pacing, and exceedingly well recorded. These transcriptions surely add a fresh dimension to familiar fare, and I enjoyed hearing them."

Lipscomb, Fanfare 11-12/05

 

Poulenc: Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano (1926) at Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Stephen Taylor, oboe, Frank Morelli, bassoon and Gilbert Kalish, piano

A Bassoon Is Given Rare Chance to Cut Loose

"The bright spot, for listeners who believe in a minimum daily requirement of something unusual, was a Poulenc Trio...a delightfully lyrical, neo-classical piece in which Poulenc entrusted the bassoon with a line as sprightly and as decorated as the oboe's. Frank Morelli, the bassoonist, and Stephen Taylor, the oboist, played deftly and produced the singing tone this score demands, and Gilbert Kalish wove the piano writing around their work with consummate gracefulness."

Allan Kozinn, 10/18/05 The New York Times

 

CD: Bassoon Brasileiro MSR 1110

"His bassoon playing has been constantly praised. His technique is flawless; a person attempting to find anything that resembles something unrefined or without taste has chosen the wrong task. Many other critics have called his phrasing "seamless", I couldn't agree more"

"The bassoon playing on this recording is as good as it gets. Frank Morelli's sound is the consummation of stability, flexibility, and sensuality. The stability resides in his decisive musicianship, direction of his phrasing, and subordination of technique to general purposes-without this the music would sound sloppy, directionless and frameless. His flexibility is the product of his ability to make the music do what the notes alone cannot-it wouldn't be enough to play the notes straight all the time, and it wouldn't do justice to the music to play it all in one style. And the sensuality is a warmth of tone that would please a lover of Mozart's music as well as Mignone's-his tone is sultry and for this (Latin American) music very appropriate. A harsh and reedy timbre would be out of place."

"This is the best engineered recording for a solo instrument with both single instrument and orchestral accompaniment that I've reviewed...The balance between Mr. Morelli and the orchestra should be a benchmark for future recordings. There is simply a perfect balance of the strings and upper winds in the Villa-Lobos, for example."

"I have also been inspired by Frank Morelli, and this is about the best example of why. When I finish listening to it, I want nothing more than to pick up my bassoon and tune in to my own musical language, as Mr. Morelli does in his recordings."

Schwartz American Record Guide Jan/Feb 2005

 

CD: Baroque Fireworks MSR 1109

"This recording and Bassoon Brasileiro have been released simultaneously, and I believe that they belong together. They complement each other. In this recording you hear Frank Morelli's more classical bassoon sound...Mr. Morelli has chosen to use another bassoon in place of the cello continuo for the Vivaldi and Telemann sonatas. The difference is notable...the bassoon solo and bassoon continuo heightens the listener's awareness of the solo timbre and castes the harpsichord in a more accompanimental role."

"As with baroque architecture, the structure of the composition was not the first thing one would necessarily notice about the music. The embellishments would stand out clearly and call the ear to what amazing things can be done with the instruments. More than that, Mr. Morelli and his comrades maintain their firm grasp on the musical lines, not letting those "fireworks" distract too much."

"Many recordings have been made of concertos and sonatas from this period, but none has been as appealing as this one. When taken with Bassoon Brasileiro, one hears what a marvelous and versatile musician Mr. Morelli is. This is the perfect marriage of 18th Century composition, scholarship, and musicianship. It is sure to sparkle for years to come."

Schwartz American Record Guide Jan/Feb 2005

 

CD: Bassoon Brasileiro MSR 1110

A delightful if sometimes unlikely solo journey for the orchestra's clown

"Frank Morelli, principal bassoonist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, brings out [the] lyrical nature very pleasingly, and his tone is plush yet characterfully reedy.""Morelli's playing is a joy to hear, and his colleagues in Orpheus provide affectionate support."

Andrew Farach-Colton The Gramophone (US Edition) January 2005

 

CD: Bassoon Brasileiro MSR 1110

"Recommended to bassoonists? Yes, thanks to the repertoire, to Morelli's tone and technique, and to MSR's really fine recorded sound. Recommendable beyond that? Yes again, because the music is good, heartwarming Brazilian fodder, and the orchestra is still sharp. But guitar and bassoon for the famous Aria? Well, yes, and it makes for a fine partnership. Verdery accompanies with feeling, and Morelli has you convinced the bassoon is the right instrument to carry the cantilena..."

"He shows superb legato control, especially in the Waltzes. The upper tone is almost saxophone-like, while the low tones are smooth, full and fruity. The midrange sings, in a French kind of way."

Ingram, Fanfare May-June 2005

 

Laderman: Elegy for Solo Bassoon and Concerto for Bassoon and String Quartet with the Calder Quartet at The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

"Frank Morelli was the eloquent soloist."

Holland, NY Times 7/20/04

 

Beethoven: Piano Quintet Op. 18 at Sarasota Music Festival

"the richly beautiful bassoon of Frank Morelli ... contributed to a captivating performance."

Budmen, M&V Online 6/24/04

 

Villa-Lobos: Ciranda Das Sete Notas with Orpheus at Carnegie Hall

"Frank Morelli gave a delightfully agile account of the solo bassoon line in Villa-Lobos's Ciranda Das Sete Notas."

Kozinn, NY Times 2/18/03

 

Telemann: Concerto for Flute, Bassoon, Strings and Continuo with Orpheus at UCLA

"...the bassoonist rollicking with flutist Susan Palma-Nidel in a Concerto in F by Telemann was Frank Morelli. Their playing was lively, stylishly communicative, in an ingratiatingly expressive work."

Henken, LA Times 12/01

 

New York Magazine's "Out of Town" column

"[one] of the stars of Manhattan's chamber music scene."

Weldon, New York Magazine 8/01

 

Handel: Aria Scherza Infida with mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Orpheus at Carnegie Hall

"In Scherza infida, from Ariodante, [Ms. Lieberson] projected characteristic warm tones and firm, long phrases, and these were ably matched by Frank Morelli on the obbligato bassoon, which he touchingly made sound like the voice of a sympathetic friend, beside and behind the singing character."

Griffiths, NY Times 11/5/99

 

Weber: Andante e Rondo Ungherese with Robert Spano, piano at the BAM

"...Weber's smoothly lyrical "Andante e Rondo Ungherese" [was] played in great style by bassoonist Frank Morelli."

Holland, NY Times 2/23/98

 

Vivaldi: Sonata in A minor for flute, bassoon and continuo with Eugenia Zuckerman and Kenneth Cooper for Festival Chamber Players

"...there was much to admire in Mr. Morelli's account of the quick figuration and the interaction of his bassoon line with Ms. Zuckerman's flute work..."

Kozinn, NY Times 12/2/97

 

Spoleto Festival 1991: Devienne Quartet in F major for bassoon and strings

"It was great to hear (Morelli) manipulate all the tricky and sustained passages inthe quartet with such excellent tone, fluidity and clean articulation."

"Morelli continues to astound at each appearance, giving us new appreciation for the range and lyric quality of this complex woodwind instrument. The gorgeous openingmelody in the strings led to smooth, long lines of ethereal tone from the bassoon, asecond movement of haunting beauty, then an exuberant, intricate allegro rife with trillsand embellishments. The audience exploded with applause."

"It was as happy a performance as could be imagined, and it left the audience delighted."

The News and Courier 6/91

 

Spoleto Festival 1991: Devienne Quartet in F major for bassoon and strings

Bassoonist Adds Flair to Concert

'François Devienne was a classic period woodwind performer/composer (in that order) who singlehandedly raised the level of woodwind playing to a considerable degree during his lifetime. One of his three Bassoon Quartets began the program featuring this Spoleto’s outstanding bassoonist Frank Morelli. The piece was really like a little bassoonconcerto. One gets a whole new idea of how neat an instrument the bassoon really iswhen this guy plays it. He, like composer Devienne, may, nay should inspire a wholenew repertory for (that) instrument."

The Evening Post 6/91

 

Spoleto Festival 1991: Vivaldi Bassoon Concerto in e minor F VIII # 6

Bassoonist Is Hero In Concert

"Our hero of the day was this year’s featured bassoonist, Frank Morelli. His performance...was the kind of experience where you forget about the bassoon...and just listen to beautiful music being performed in a major way. It was undoubtedly the best performance of this lovely piece that you’ll ever hear. When was the last time you got goose bumps listening to a bassoon concerto?"

The Evening Post, Charleston, SC 6/91

 

Schuller: Impromptus and Cadenzas: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

"...the solo bassoon passages [were] expertly played by Frank Morelli."

Elliott, NY Post 4/17/90

 

Schuller: Impromptus and Cadenzas: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

"Particularly appealing [was] Mr. Morelli's polished handling of the bassoon cadenza, which hops around the instrument's range."

Kozinn, NY Times 4/17/90

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: DG recording with Orpheus

"impressive in Mozart concerto...Morelli's elegant rendition of his solo part may disappoint those who expect buffoonery."

Symphony Magazine, 11-12/90

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: DG recording with Orpheus

"...a fine-grained, totally unclownish, but very amiable.."

Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1989

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: DG recording with Orpheus

"Appropriately the performance of the Bassoon Concerto is mellow and beguilingly relaxed with the soloist very communicative and genial. The closing Minuet is particularly engaging in its delicacy of articulation and colouring, after the lyrical warmth of the Andante."

IM, Gramophone Magazine, 1/89

 

Mozart: Serenades in C minor and E flat with Heinz Holliger at Metropolitan Museum of Art:

"Especially noteworthy were Frank Morelli's dancing, running, rich-soundingbassoon parts..."

Kretschmer, NY Post 3/22/89

 

Telemann: Tafelmusik Quartet in D minor for "Spoleto Revisited" Charleston, SC:

"...it was perhaps Morelli's brilliance in the second-movement "Vivace" that stole the show."

Dressler, The Evening Post 1/7/87

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: performance with Orpheus in Toronto

"...ardent bassoon playing, and patrician phrasing added up to the kind of Mozart even the most tireless concertgoer is lucky to hear once a year."

Kaptainis, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 4/13/84

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: performance with Orpheus at U. Michigan

"The best performance of the evening was definitely Mozart's bassoon concerto. Morelli's palpable enthusiasm animated his performance..."

Leonard, The Ann Arbor News 4/16/84

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: performances with Orpheus:

"Bassoonist Frank Morelli dispatched the solo portions of Mozart's bassoon Concerto with jovial brilliance, displaying a seamless legato line and a round, full tone quality. The orchestral accompaniment was supportive without being overwhelming, an eminently suitable carpet on which Morelli could lay his lustrous sound."

Guinn, Detroit Free Press 4/16/84

 

Mozart: Piano Quintet K452 at the Mostly Mozart Festival with Heinz Holliger:

"Only rarely does a listener sit in a concert hall and hope that microphones are also present to document a performance...Mozart's Quintet for Piano and Winds in E Flat (K. 452)...was so suppley and subtly played, that the performance was, in the best sense, delightful. The delight was tangible in the hall, and could be felt among the players as well. The winds...were so well-rehearsed and acutely aware of the music's antiphonal elegance, that there were hardly any seams between their phrases."

Rothstein, The New York Times, 8/83

 

Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras VI for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center:

"Paula Robison and Frank Morelli tossed off Villa-Lobos' Sixth Bachianas Brasileiras with breathtaking virtuosity-it isn't every day that you hear flute and bassoon tackle a score with such agility."

Roos, The Miami Herald, 12/21/81

 

Kupferman: Balloon Letters with the NY Philomusica at Lincoln Center:

"...the toughest music is assigned to the bassoon, and Frank Morelli's playing of it was amazingly good."

Zakariasen, NY Daily News 5/10/77

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: performance with The Jerusalem Symphony

"...his excellent technical and musical qualities gave this pleasant work an exemplary rendition."

Boehm, The Jerusalem Post 2/2/75

 

Mozart: Bassoon Concerto K191: Carnegie Hall solo debut with Leon Barzin conducting the National Orchestral Association:

"Frank Morelli, the bassoonist, is currently a member of the National Orchestral Association. When he came on stage there were youthful shrieks from the audience. Mr. Morelli is a graduate student at the Julliard School and his claque came along to cheer him on. The young bassoonist did not need any help. He is a smooth instrumentalist with a beautifully modulated sound, and he played the Mozart like the accomplished musician he is."

Schonberg, The New York Times, 12/73

 

Leland Smith's Machines of Loving Grace at Town Hall, NYC

"Mr. Smith's piece, for speaker, taped sounds and bassoonist (in this instance a remarkable young artist, Frank Morelli) evoked a timeless mood by such simple means as having the tape pick up and extend the bassoon's tone or the other way around.

"Donal Henahan The New York Times 11/11/73

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