Friday, August 16, 2013

Like the Falling of Small Rocks that Precedes an Avalanche..

I got an email today from someone in Europe who wants to play None More Black with his band!!


There is next to nothing in the popular genre, especially of serious popular pieces, for the bassoon. In that sense, NMB is a jewel of a rare nature.

I am currently working with a composer to create more "popular" pieces that can be played by bassoon and a variety of other instruments. These types of works are, especially serious ones, so uncommon that almost anything we come up with will be a well needed expansion of bassoon repertoire.

Traditionally bassoon pieces that aren't classical in nature (and some that are) tend to focus on the comedic aspect of the bassoon or rely on amusing gimmicks. We have well enough of these comedic works, where are the pieces I can go downtown to play and make a few bucks playing it?
The answer used to be, "you picked the wrong instrument," but as of very recently "popular" works including the bassoon are in progress. 
 I don't know why it is, but people can't seem to take the bassoon seriously as a viable source or genuine entertainment. I will point out that if you read the poll of words-that-people-associate-with-the-bassoon, the two most unfailingly popular choices are Exotic and Expressive. If this is the case, why is the bassoon sequestered to the back of the orchestra?? It doesn't need to be..
An instrument with such qualities needs to get out there and just do it!!

There are tons of solo string players, but I could name on one hand the list of solo bassoonists I know. However I digress, the music we're working on  is not purely soloistic in nature, but rather features the bassoon with nontraditional ensembles. The fact that previous "pop" pieces for bassoon are intended to be either comedic or a novelty I think is too bad, and it's time for change.

Bassoon is hard enough to play, but when the only real performing jobs are limited to classical repertoire, you can understand why it would be stifling to play the same sorts of things over and over. I never want to play a Bb 3 ever again. You bassoonists know what I'm talking about..

It's high time we started improvising, but the sad truth is, bassoonists typically don't.


Here is the email I found in my inbox this morning;

"I really liked the piece by Ben Stonaker, I am wanting to bye it for my band so that I can actually play the bassoon in the band. That would be really cool! 

There are som things I am wondering about though, prize and parts. 
I am basically wondering about what the prize is, and if the guitar solo and so on is written or if improvised. 

I live in Norway, so do you ship over here? 

Thanks, and please excuse me for my terrible English.

Sincerl, Didrik"

(thanks Didrik for giving me permission to post!)

I have great hopes that this is only the beginning, and that once serious pop bassoon music starts to become available, a whole new genre of pop bassoon repertoire choices will not only be accessible to future generations of bassoonists, but to a certain degree expected. Obviously only time will tell if this experiment will work or not, but nothing ever got done by not being tried. :)

Fingers crossed!!

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