Summer Listening: Bassoon Concertos

Summer Listening: Bassoon Concertos

Despite repertoire staples by Vivaldi and Mozart, the bassoon concerto poses an exciting challenge to composers lucky enough to receive such a commission.

The bassoon's glimmering lyricism is on full display in works by Michael Gordon, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Joan Tower, while works by Gary Carpenter, Andy Pape, and Marc Neikrug both embrace and surpass the instrument's characteristic lower register. As one might expect, Gunther Schuller's catalog boasts concertos for both bassoon and contrabassoon, and Peter Maxwell Davies transcends the classical inspiration of his Strathclyde Concerto No. 8.

Please enjoy a Spotify playlist of available recordings of the concertos listed below.

Richard Rodney Bennett
Bassoon Concerto (1994) 19 minutes
string orchestra
View the score
 
Gary Carpenter
Bassoon Concerto (2011) 20 minutes
3(pic).1+ca.2(bcl).1+cbn/4.2.0.1/timp.perc/hp/str
Listen on Soundcloud | View the score
 
Michael Gordon
Observations on Air (2016) 20 minutes
2.2.0.0/2(natural horn).0.0.0/str
Listen on YouTube
 
Sofia Gubaidulina
Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings (1975) 27 minutes
str(0.0.0.4.3)
Listen on Spotify
 
Peter Maxwell Davies
Strathclyde Concerto No. 8 (1993) 25 minutes
1(pic)+afl.0.1+bcl.0+cbn/2.0.0.0/timp/str
Listen on Spotify | View the score
 
Marc Neikrug
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (2013) 18 minutes
2.2+ca.2+bcl.2/4.0.1.1/3perc/cel.hp/str
Watch the composer discuss the concerto on YouTube: | View the score
 
Andy Pape
Traces of Time Lost (1998) 19 minutes
2.2.2.1/2.2.2.0/timp.3perc/hp.pf/str
Listen on Spotify | View the score
 
Gunther Schuller
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (Eine Kleine Fagottmusik) (1985) 22 minutes
2+pic.2+ca.2(ssx)+bcl.3(cbn)/4.3.3.1/timp.4perc/hp.pf(cel)/str
Listen on Spotify | View the score
 
Concerto for Contrabassoon (1978) 23 minutes
3(pic)+pic.4.(2ca).3(Ebcl,bcl)+cbcl.3(cbn)/4.4.4.1/timp.2perc/cel(pf).hp/str
Listen to the Piano Reduction on Spotify | View the score

Joan Tower
Red Maple (2013) 16 minutes
string orchestra
View the score
 

For more information on the music and potential guest soloists, please contact Andrew Stein-Zeller.

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