• Richard Danielpour
  • Feast of Fools - Concertino for Bassoon and String Quartet (1998)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • 2vn, va, vc
  • Bassoon
  • 16 min

Programme Note


Feast of Fools, subtitled Concertino for Bassoon and String Quartet, is a work in four movements. The “Fools” of the title are the holy fools of French Carneval who are permitted to speak truth without suffering any personal consequences. The fool -or trickster - is an archetype who appears in the literature and mythology of many cultures. The parenthetical titles of the movements hint at a subtext in which the fool interacts with other mythical beings: an Ice Princess and a serpent (the cobra in eastern mythology often represents death, at whom the jester appears to be thumbing his nose in the final movement).

Richard told me from the outset that he anticipated the piece would be somewhat traditional in form, though utilizing modern tonal and rhythmic materials. In its final (or at least current) incarnation it is about eighteen minutes long. The opening movement is quite slow with the bassoon an expressive and declamatory voice over the more serene and flowing string group. It opens and closes with a gorgeous canon. The second movement is a scherzo - a la Beethoven or Haydn, perhaps. The third movement is again quite slow, with the bassoon doing more playing as part of the ensemble than in previous movements, at least initially. The final movement is a rondo, quite classical really, under its exotic surface. The music fairly dances off the page in the two fast movements and the slow movements are nothing short of beautiful.

— Stephen Walt
August, 1998