I am not sure why I bought this anymore other than to add some weirdness to the site. It was $1.80. Perhaps the caricature on the cover playing the bassoon influenced the purchase in some form.
The Bassoon, a double reed woodwind instrument, came into modern form in the 19th century and was derived from the earlier fagotto. I read a whole history of the instrument but could not focus without asking myself why by God am I reading this. Basically, there are two modern designs;the German Heckel and the French Buffet.If you want to know anything else, you can learn on your own below.
Wiki link to the Bassoon
This baritone timbred instrument has been used frequently in orchestral works. According to the back cover of this album, there are less frequent solo pieces for the instrument. It is also not really used in jazz at all. And while Wikipedia suggests its use in Pop music is even less, notable examples of bassoon use can be heard in Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper”, The Turtles’ “Happy Together”, Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown”, and the novelty number “Winchester Cathedral”.
Its use in classical music is extensive, on the other hand. Notable pieces include Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Bizet’s Carmen Ent’acte to Act II, Beethoven’s 9th, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice , Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as directed by Ravel, and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. In the last piece, the bassoon represents Peter’s grandfather.
What to say about this album? It contains three orchestral pieces with prominent bassoon and three duet pieces between bassoon and piano. My biggest criticism of this album is that it is hard for the non-bassoon fan to distinguish where each piece begins and end. My second criticism is that it is bassoon-centric but I knew that going into the album.
For a sample, I wanted to choose one of the piano pieces as they were shorter in length. However, I failed to record them individually. Furthermore, I am not listening to this album again so as a sample, here is a 6 minute selection of pieces, namely, Fernand Oubradous’ Divertissment for Bassoon and Piano, Jacques Ibert’s Arabesque for Bassoon and Piano, and O. Miroshnikov’s Scherzo in G Minor for Bassoon and Piano. The back cover draws attention to the last piece in particular. Incidentally, the bassoon on the album is played by Gerhard Hasse. I could not find any information on him other than a $125 album of his bassoon work listed on E-Bay.
I get it, the instrument has a rich low sound but there is not enough on this album to make it interesting to me other than the strange looking guy on the cover. Meh.
UPDATE 5/19/2017- Just when I thought this album was behind me, I have recently been asked by a music journalist from Serbia to digitally record the tracks from side 1 of this album as I believe he/she is working on a story about Stephan Malek, the guitarist who accompanied Gehard Hasse on the first side. Mr Malek, if I am understanding it correctly, is a very well known Serbian musician who may or may not be well recorded within his own country. I also believe he is talented on a few different instruments other than guitar. Ah, the joys of broken English. Anyway, as I never want to disappoint a person who checks out my blog, here are the two tracks that feature Mr Malek’s guitar, Johnann Friederich Fasch’s Concerto for Bassoon, Strings and Continuo and Carl Andres Gopfert’s Sonata in C Major for Bassoon and Guitar Op 13. I am not sure there is any guitar in the first piece but it is quite prominent in the second.