Sunday, February 16, 2014

Unusual concertos [65]: Contrabassoon

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 60+ this time.

The sixty-fifth concerto deals with the contrabassoon (image source). This is the larger version of the more common bassoon, and plays a full octave lower, adding considerably to the natural grumpiness of its cousin. Not surprisingly, concertos for this instrument are rare, but one of the leading contemporary composers, Finland's Kalevi Aho, wrote one in 2005, which was recorded for a CD I have in my collection. It is played by Lewis Lipnick and the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton, available on a BIS CD.

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