Best Bassoon Week Ever! (11/4-11/10)

Elliott Carter died this week, at the age of 103.  He was just about a month shy of his 104th birthday (December 11).

I found out on the way home from giving lessons on Monday, and I cried.

Not joking.

I thought about the copy of Eight Etudes and a Fantasy sitting on my desk, and the paper I wrote for my masters degree on Retracing.  I thought about playing Au Quai last year with my friend, and how hard 2 minutes of music can be, but how much fun we had playing it. And I couldn’t help it.  The waterworks just came.  I then realized that I have never cried  over a musician I never knew before.  Especially sitting in traffic, starring at twitter, waiting for someone to confirm the rumor (because twitter is good at that…).

So tonight, I’m going to cover music by Elliott Carter, because I feel like it’s the right thing to do.  And I feel like no one knows these things…even if they are awesome.

Eight Etudes and a Fantasy.

Quintet: Movement II

So, most people really like young Carter, because, lets face it….he became more atonal and more experimental with age.  But I just love Retracing. I played it for my masters recital.  it’s only 1’30” and you hate yourself for doing it.  It’s one of those pieces that takes way too long to practice for so little amount of return.  But once your play it, it’s unaccompanied bliss.  The way he plays with the timbres and tendencies of the instrument is so natural and easy in this piece, that it becomes an extremely satisfying piece to play.  It’s still one of my favorites to just sit down and look over.  It’s new and different every single time, and I cherish those pieces.

Au Quai  is possibly one of the hardest pieces I have ever played.  It’s entirely ridiculous to line up with the Viola, and sometimes, you just can’t get your fingers to lay right.  It’s a mountain to climb, and it looks like a nice walk when you put it on the stand.  It’s terrifying to play in front of people, and you feel like a crazy person.  But its such an intense piece, and it’s less than 3 minutes long. I can’t wait to tackle it again.  I hope rather sooner than later.  I feel like I could do such a better job than I did the last time.

There’s no youtube video (because no one would do that to themselves), but there is a free recording on the London Sinfonietta Radio 

RIP Elliott Carter.  It was wonderful to get to know you through your music.

Thanks Bassoonists (and others) for letting me do a little therapy on your blog-y couch.

But now onto other business.

Bassoons (and other musiky folk),  remember when we talked about this?  This Rushes Ensemble, with the seven bassoons and the mediocre reviews?

They released a video.

*sigh* It’s only two minutes long, but it gives us an interesting preview.

They just had their European premiere on Novemeber 8th, and I cannot find a single review!

Anyway.   We’ll see if I can find anything in the next week.

And I leave you with your bassoon video of the week…….

Ok, so it’s not a bassoon.  But it is a double reed, and LOOK AT IT!  IT’S AWESOME!


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