Category Archives: Concerto

The bassment

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Bass open strings:

The continuo: Bass (=Violone) and
Harpsichord (= Cembalo)

Bach: Brandenburg No. 6 BWV 1051, original score

… and, if you wondered about Beethoven’s double bassoon…


To start at a specific movement just click on its title.

A full-blooded, late Romantic concerto from a musician we associate more with conducting than composing or bass playing. As conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Serge Koussevitsky commissioned much music from his contemporaries (Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with its tuba solo was a Koussevitsky commission). The concerto is in f# and uses scordatura, tuning the bass up a whole tone in order (I assume) to get a brighter edge to the instrument’s sound. Does it work?

Allegro Andante Allegro

An opportunity to compare (and contrast!) the sounds of the double bassoon with its nearest relative. Tomi Räisänen is a young(ish) Finnish composer; the work deals with Finnish and Lappish history and mythology. A full explanation is way beyond the scope of this short note but you can read about the concerto in some detail on the composer’s website here.

SampoSammasCadenza I (solo bassoon)-51,5 °C
СБ-2 (SB-2)Cadenza II (solo contrabassoon)
Kirjokansi (Firmament)Polaris

Two tuba concertos! The Vaughan Williams in a performance from Bucharest(?) and a work from a composer we associate more with the glitzy world of Hollywood – John Williams. Both concertos give the lie to the instrument’s rather ponderous reputation – it can be really fleet of foot; the only prerequisite is sufficient puff…

Prelude: Allegro moderato RomanzaAndante sostenuto
Finale – Rondo alla tedescaAllegro

Allegro moderatoAndanteAllegro molto

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