Summer Listening: Bassoon Concertos

Summer Listening: Bassoon Concertos
Bassoonist Adrian Morejon with Joan Tower at
BMOP/sound recording session of Red Maple.

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
Listen on Soundcloud | View the score
Michael Gordon
Observations on Air (2016) 20 minutes horn).0.0.0/str
Listen on YouTube
Sofia Gubaidulina
Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings (1975) 27 minutes
Listen on Spotify
Peter Maxwell Davies
Strathclyde Concerto No. 8 (1993) 25 minutes
Listen on Spotify | View the score
Marc Neikrug
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (2013) 18 minutes
Watch the composer discuss the concerto on YouTube: | View the score
Andy Pape
Traces of Time Lost (1998) 19 minutes
Listen on Spotify | View the score
Gunther Schuller
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (Eine Kleine Fagottmusik) (1985) 22 minutes
Listen on Spotify | View the score
Concerto for Contrabassoon (1978) 23 minutes
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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