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Bassoon Concerto

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Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber (trans. R Mark Rogers)


This work bears the designation Opus 75 (J. 127).


General Info

Year: 1811 / 1823 / 2021
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Bassoon and orchestra
Publisher: Heart of Texas Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $20.00


Movements

1. Allegro ma non troppo – 7:45
2. Adagio – 5:50
3. Rondo: Allegro – 4:0


Instrumentation

Full Score
Solo Bassoon
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Carl Maria von Weber's Concerto for Bassoon in F Major, Op. 75 (J. 127) was composed in 1811 for Munich court musician Georg Friedrich Brandt, and then revised in 1822. Primarily an opera conductor and composer, Weber had only arrived a few months earlier in Munich, where he was extremely well received. The concerto is one of two pieces written for bassoon by Weber, the other being Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35 (J. 158).

- Program Note from Wikipedia


That Carl Maria von Weber was a consummate opera composer is reflected in his Bassoon Concerto. Weber’s tonal language is worked out with a keen eye for contrast and detail, the themes finely attuned to each other in terms of expression and shading. While listening to his bassoon concerto, various scenes unfold in the mind’s eye, merging in the course of the work into a varied plot. In the first movement the narrative is in the foreground: From the heroic and cantabile beginning of the opening bassoon entry through the delicate second theme, in which the solo bassoon strikes up an amorous duet with the orchestral winds, to the dramatic middle section, all the way to the triumphant conclusion. In contrast, the second movement is reminiscent of a love aria, before, with great wit and charm, the finale of the concerto comes to a cheerful and vibrant end.

The fact that Weber probably worked intensively on his bassoon concerto even after the premiere is suggested by the fact that in 1822, eleven years after initially completing it, he reworked the concerto and in some places made considerable changes.

- Program Note by Theo Plath for liner notes of Genuin CD Theo Plath Bassoon


In February 1811, Weber embarked on an international concert tour that was to include such cities as Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg. It was on March 14 that he arrived in Munich, the first city of the tour. There he composed the clarinet Concertino, Op. 26 [J. 109] for Heinrich Bärmann, a well-respected virtuoso clarinetist in the Munich court orchestra who would become a lifelong friend. The Concertino was wildly popular, which caused Maximilian I, the king of Bavaria, immediately to commission from Weber two full clarinet concertos (No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73 [J. 114] and No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 74 [J. 118]). Many musicians of the court orchestra begged Weber to write concertos for them as well, but the only one who convinced him was the bassoonist Georg Friedrich Brandt.

The concerto was written from November 14 to 27, 1811. Brandt played the premiere in the Munich Hoftheater on December 28, 1811, but Weber had already left for Switzerland, the next destination on his concert tour. Weber was able to attend a subsequent concert in Prague, and before he sent the concerto to the Berlin publisher Schlesinger in 1822, he made substantial revisions to the work as a result of this hearing. Accordingly, the concerto was published as Op. 75 [J. 127] in 1823. Some 40 years later, Schlesinger released a heavily edited edition for bassoon and piano which obscured the composition with new articulations, altered notes, added dynamics and misprints. Bassoonist and pedagogue William Waterhouse wrote a scholarly article in 1986 comparing all editions and detailing the changes Weber made in his 1822 revision, then prepared and edited the "urtext" edition in 1990, bringing back to light all of the composer's original intentions.

Weber’s experience as a composer of opera, in which one must carefully choose orchestral color for the dramatic moment while never covering the singing voice, served him well in the composition of the Bassoon Concerto. The urtext concerto is scored for solo bassoon and an orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two horns, two bassoons, two trumpets, timpani and strings (note the absence of clarinets and low brass). The solo bassoon is usually accompanied by the strings alone, although the winds occasionally add to the dialogue and the trumpets and timpani add punctuation at the structural moments. The solo bassoon often plays florid figurations entirely unaccompanied. The sylvan texture of the horns is used to great effect in the middle portion of the Adagio. The band transcription of the concerto has faithfully followed this model, so that the solo bassoon may be accompanied by a wind ensemble of almost any size, so long as the clarinet section, replacing the strings, plays with a tone of sufficient beauty and transparency that the solo bassoon is able to project through the texture.

- Program Note from score


Media

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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Heart of Texas (San Antonio) Concert Band (R. Mark Rogers, conductor; Rachel Frederiksen, bassoon) - 23 May 2021


Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources