musings of a professional bassoonist

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Chieftains

Last night the Columbus Symphony performed with The Chieftains

It was a thoroughly enjoyable concert; there's a reason why The Chieftains are world famous!  I kept thinking of my grandmother throughout the concert.  Although her ancestors originated from France, she was born and raised in Ireland.  I remember watching the Boston Pops on TV with my grandmother when I was a child, and of course, being located in Boston, they played a lot of Irish tunes.  Every time they did, my grandmother would order me to get up and "dance the jig," which  I did, to the best of my untrained ability.

Even though the symphony only played during half of the concert, I can report that once again, my theory was proved.  No matter what concert or repertoire we're playing, there's always at least one "issue" to be concerned about.  We bassoonists are nearly never off the hook completely!

One of the pieces we performed last night was Suite from Far and Away by John Williams.

The entire piece is full of technical challenges, with the bassoon often participating in heavily ornamented melodies.  But there's one passage in particular which requires us to be very much on the ball:

The bassoons are exposed at the 2/2 marked "Vigorously."  It's in a fast 2, and I clearly marked the slash marks on the beat so there'd be no uncertainty.  It goes by really quickly, and for me it was absolutely necessary to pencil in the first few notes of the next lines at the ends of the 2nd and 4th lines above.  I think that any little trick which increases the likelihood of the successful execution of our assigned parts is worth the effort.

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