Falling Down was commissioned from John Woolrich specifically for Margaret by the Grimmitt Trust, and is one of only a handful of concertos written for the contrabassoon
The final chapter discusses the contrabassoon
Among the much-needed rationalizations of Debussy's sometimes whimsical notational practice, the contrabassoon
part from figure 44 in the third movement (where Debussy started notating it at sounding pitch) reverts to standard practice: the part is now notated an octave higher than it sounds, as Debussy had it in the rest of the score.
Andris Nelsons next conducts the CBSO at Symphony Hall tonight, in a concert which includes the premiere of John Woolrich's concerto for contrabassoon
, Falling Down, and Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, which Nelsons will also conduct at the Proms on Tuesday.
Each instrument or subensemble sets out characteristic material at the beginning of the work: the bass flute is at the foreground as the concerted instrument and, in the first of eight designated sections in the piece, plays three unequal phrases built on the initial linear motion c[sharp]- - d[sharp]' -e'; the cellos play double-stopped independent glissandos that gradually include microtonal inflections; the contrabassoon
burbles around its bottom [Musical Expression Omitted]; the trombones, which enter just before the contrabassoon
, begin a slow stepwise climb from their initial F[sharp]-G with microtonally-inflected seconds between them; and the contrabass plays a freely contrapuntal line that slowly expands around its starting A.
Here, next Friday, Andris Nelsons conducts the CBSO in one of the best-loved oboe concertos - Richard Strauss's gloriously autumnal example, with Jonathan Kelly, one-time CBSO favourite and now joint principal oboist with Simon Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra the soloist - and in the world premiere of Falling Down, a concerto for contrabassoon
and orchestra by John Woolrich.
Unlike his bright G major concerto this one begins in the inky darkness of double-basses and contrabassoon
Many congratulations to all concerned, but especially to Naomi March, fearless in the long, gloomily atmospheric euphonium solo which launches this vast work, to Holly Reardon for the sheer personality of her contrabassoon
, to guitarist Paul Norman and mandolin player Alison Stephens for their charming contributions.
Ravel's enchanting Mother Goose Suite seemed delivered on autopilot by this expert band, though it was still possible to admire the silkiness of the strings and the persuasive contrabassoon
of Margaret Cookhorn, evoking a beast more beauteous than could ever be imagined.
It would be difficult to think of an instrument less obviously suited to a concerto than the contrabassoon
, whose role in the orchestra is usually limited to the thankless task of underpinning its accumulated weight.
Harbison's expansive instrumentation includes two contrabasses, harp, piano and a large battery of percussion consisting of over twenty-five instruments for four players, in addition to the more traditional wind instruments, while Maw includes alto flute, clarinets (in E[flat], B[flat], and A), and contrabassoon
Recordings so far have included an oddity by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho - a concerto for contrabassoon
- and a coupling of Norwegian composers Alnaes and Sinding in Hyperion's long-running "Romantic Piano Concerto" series.