Recorded on 02/04/1995, uploaded on 07/17/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,Concerto for Bassoon & Orchestra K.191, Part 1, Transcription for Organ by Setrak Setrakian.
Lighthearted and playful, the Concerto for Bassoon, K. 191, composed in 1774, reflects the youthfulness of the teenage Mozart. It was one of those pieces of classical music that one finds particularly relaxing and rejuvenating. Its structure allows it to pass by with an uninterrupted flow—nothing out of place or to startle the senses. Nor does it content require the intellectual acuity that a composer such as Beethoven would demand of his listeners. For these reasons, it would be possible to think less of this work than, say, even Mozart’s later concertos. This would not be an entirely incorrect judgment, for it certainly lacks the depth of writing that Mozart would ultimately attain, particularly in his last years. However, despite where it may fall in rank among his other compositions, the Concerto for Bassoon is a work that the listener cannot help but find himself caught up in its unabashed youthfulness and gaiety.
The first movement, opening with a spirited and triumphant melody, is a straightforward example of the Classical concerto form. Throughout the movement, as well as the entire piece, Mozart’s handling of the solo bassoon is thoroughly idiomatic, embracing both its lyrical and playful qualities. The middle slow movement, with its rather uncertain tempo marking of Andante ma Adagio, is of sublime beauty and tranquility. Twelve years later, the opening measures of its melody must have come to Mozart’s mind in the composition of “Porgi, amor” from Le nozze di Figaro. The finale, a Rondo in Minuet tempo, returns to the joviality of the first movement and brings the piece to a close with an exciting flourish of the orchestra.
Though the Concerto in B-flat is Mozart’s only extant work for solo bassoon, it is believed that he may have composed other concertos for the instrument and possibly even a sonata. Given the work we do possess, it is to be regretted that the others have not survived. Nevertheless, the Concerto in B-flat, today, is a centerpiece in the rather limited solo repertoire of the bassoon. Joseph DuBose
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