Even before the old Dulcian, aka as fagotto in Italy and as curtail to the Brits, became the now know to us as a bassoon, composers had begun to write for it.

Vivaldi wrote a couple of concerti for it. Mozart put it to work a few times. Later Grovlez, Hummel, Smalys, Jolivet, and Elgar composed sonatas and divertimenti for the bassoon. Hindemith wrote a showpiece sonata for it in 1938.

Shostakovich gave it a haunting passage in his ninth symphony, Ravel assigned a dreamy passage to it in the midst of his Alborada del Gracioso, and Stravinsky gave it a famously exposed solo in the opening of The Rite of Spring.

With its huge range and flexibility and its mellow bass-baritone timbre the bassoon anchors the woodwind family, and it often gets its up-close and personal moments in music for woodwind quintet. But here’s a CD of music for not one but two bassoons.

The music in the Bright Shiny Things (BSTC-0129) CD Tuple Darker Things comes from sources far and wide: with two Americans each represented by compositions that reflect a post-Adams/Glass/Reich aesthetic that has variously been labeled post-minimalism or totalism: Marc Mellits’ Black, a consonant duo for two bassoons, and Michael Daugherty’s Bounce, a playfully canon-like duet using echoing statements and answers.

Dutch composer Chiel Meijering’s Nocturnal Residents is a nervously humorous study in diverse parallel tempi and rhythms. Sofia Gubaidulina’s 1977 Duo Sonata is substantial in scope and duration, and infused with the Russian gravitas we have come to expect from this composer. Dutch composer Louis Andriessen wrote the award-winning Lacrimosa in 1991, depicting in its music a desolate landscape that calls for the two bassoons to seek each other’s tonality often using quarter-tone tuning.

Tuple is the name for the bassoonist duo of Lynn Hilman and Rachael Elliott: two accomplished and enterprising musicians who make their mark with this intriguing album, their first CD, excellently engineered by David Schall and produced by the artists and Louis Levitt.

Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com