Best Bassoon Week Ever (11/25-12/1)

Hi Everybody!  I hope you had a fantastically busy week like I did.  This may have not been the most awesome week for me, but it was definitely The Best Bassoon Week Ever!

My chops are killing me….Two, four-hour recording sessions, and a long rehearsal, recitals, concerts, and Bassoon Christmas all in one 3 day period.

But we had a good time at bassoon Christmas, and the UNT bassoon studio makes me so proud….

Oh I know…Awwwwwwweee

Ok, now that I’m done giving a little studio love, it’s time to give another kind of bassoony love, and talk about bassoonists composing for bassoonists. Because, who composes more for bassoon than other bassoonists?  No one…well, except maybe  Vivaldi…but that man didn’t have facebook…or Top Chef, so 37 bassoon concertos seem totally possible.

I’ve already talked about several composers who are bassoonists in my last blogs.  I can’t stay away from them.

When anyone ever asks me if bassoon can do “interesting things”, or extended techniques, and they want to hear what some of them sound like, and I don’t have a bassoon in my hand, I direct them to this video:

Because Robert Ronnes has been around forever, and I feel like no one knows who he is.  I don’t really even know who he is.  I know he’s a bassoonist from Norway, a composer, and he composes a lot of music.  Not just for bassoon, but for everything.  He also plays a lot of bassoon.  Most of his videos are of his compositions, but some more recent ones are of him playing other people’s compositions, for bassoon.

Some of his stuff is more modern like this piece, which I would love to get my hands on.

And then some of his other pieces are very “middle of the road” (I know composers will hate that phrase, but I’m tired.  Give me a break)

Come on, what bassoon quartet wouldn’t want to play that piece?

If you look at his youtube page, you can click “load 10 more videos” many times. He’s really prolific.  Granted, like any composer or performer I review, there are things I just don’t like, but I think some of them are worth a listen.

You can also go to his imslp page, and look at some of his Sonatas for bassoon, and a couple of other pieces.

Not as modern, but also amazingly talented is the French Canadian bassoonist Mathieu Lussier. Lussier is a member of Pro musica, and a founder of the Caliban Bassoon Quartet.

He’s written a lot of music for another bassoonist in the quartet, Nadina Mackie Jackson.

That, ladies and gentlemen is the Concerto for Trumpet and Bassoon, by Mathieu Lussier.

He’s also written a bit for the Caliban Quartet.  I’m so glad they put this one up on Youtube, because it’s possibly my favorite piece on the CD

Bassoonists just pop up all over the place, especially in Texas.   A composition professor at UT Austin, Dan Welcher, is a bassoonist.  While he just recently wrote an opera, and writes extensively for band, orchestra, and chamber groups, he also wrote one of my favorite bassoon/oboe duos, which is on Kristen Wolfe Jensen’s CD.  The piece is called Mill Songs and is based on pieces by Schubert.

Here at UNT, the Head of Composition Studies is a bassoonist!  Joseph Klein  has written a bit for bassoon, and still plays off and on.

Several of the bassoonists in our studio are composers.  Ryan Ayres is a new freshman and is already writing bassoon stuff.  Six Bassoons!

And of course…you know who else is a bassoonist?

PDQ Bach, of course!

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