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Bassoon Concertino (2013)

With Gunnar Eckhoff, Solo Bassoon of The Danish Chamber Players. Photo by Peter Foersom.

For bassoon and chamber ensemble

INSTRUMENTATION - there are three options:
#1: tutti: solo bassoon, flute, clarinet, piano, harp, 2 percussion (crotales, vibraphone, marimba), violin, viola, cello
#2: tutti minus the harp: solo bassoon, flute, clarinet, piano, 2 percussion (crotales, vibraphone, marimba), violin, viola, cello
#3: tutti minus the percussion: solo bassoon, flute, clarinet, piano, harp, violin, viola, cello
[NOTE: Whichever version is played, the same full score and parts should be used, i.e., there are not 3 different scores and 3 different sets of parts.]

First performance of the Bassoon version by the Danish Chamber Players, Gunnar Eckhoff, solo bassoon, on 6 April 2014
First performance of the Bass Clarinet Version by Orchestra Symphonique Region Centre-Val de Loire Tours, France Vincent Penot solo bass clarinet on 22 January 2017, conducted by Kanako Abe.
Duration: 10 minutes

Part #2: SKY BLUE in a live performance by the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble

To be performed with dancers when feasible.

Ensemble Ibis - Gabriel Beavers, bassoon; Shawn Crouch, conductor

CD Available

This work is available on
Full Moon in the City

Online Perusal Score

Program Note

Commissioned by and dedicated with admiration and gratitude to The Danish Chamber Players and bassoon soloist Gunnar Eckhoff, Bassoon Concertino was premiered on April 6, 2014 in Copenhagen in Tivoli Concert Hall and has a duration of 10 minutes.

The work is in three parts (fast, slow, faster,) is based on beautiful works of art, and offers homages to three Danish composers:

Part #1: Paul Klee: ROPE DANCER: Homage to Hans Abrahamsen;
Part #2: Wassily Kandinsky: SKY BLUE: Homage to Bent Sørensen;
Part #3: Joan Miro: LADDERS CROSS THE BLUE SKY IN A WHEEL OF FIRE: Homage to Poul Ruders.

It is rare that we get to hear a work that showcases a bassoon player.  This Concertino requires exceptional virtuosity of the soloist featuring playing of all kinds — rhythmic, athletic, punchy, lyrical, delicate, jazzy, whimsical, capricious, elegant — and celebrates the amazing artist and beautiful instrument in all its colors.

—Augusta Read Thomas

Rope Dancer (Paul Klee)
Sky Blue (Wassily Kandinsky)
Ladders Cross the Blue Sky in a Wheel of Fire (Joan Miro)
Selected Reviews

Roger Knox, The WholeNote Magazine in Toronto, Vol. 22 No. 1

"I found the Bassoon Concertino (2014) by Augusta Read Thomas (b.1964) especially clear and coherent in tonal language. It is based on three modernist paintings; the melding of tones and tone clusters in Part 2: Wassily Kandinsky: Sky Blue is particularly appealing."
[Full Review]


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