I have been fascinated by the French basson for a long time. In the hands of masters such as Maurice Allard, Paul Hogne, Julien Hardy and Gilbert Audin, it is a hauntingly beautiful instrument, noted for its smooth, singing, lyrical capabilities. Yet the French basson can also perform acrobatics unthinkable on the much more common German bassoon.
I often search YouTube for examples of French basson playing, but I am invariably disappointed. Why has the classical music world all but abandoned this unique and intriguing instrument?
Imagine my delight when I happened upon this video streamed all-Ravel concert today:
streaming video of Philharmonique de Radio France
The bassoons in the video are indeed French bassons, even though German bassoons are becoming increasingly common even in French orchestras.
Vivent longtemps le basson français !
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