Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Fear for Cadenzas

Recently, I read a post on David A. Wells's blog. In it, Mr. Wells details the process by which he wrote his own cadenza to the Mozart bassoon concerto. It's an interesting piece, one which had more than a few links to good material. In fact, I was surprised to learn that there is a D.M.A. thesis by a bassoonist named Sarah Anne Wildey, titled Historical Performance Practice in Cadenzas to Mozart's Concerto for Bassoon K. 191 (186e).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Transformers Theme: What Makes it Great?

One of the greatest kids' TV shows of all-time, Transformers fueled the imaginations of a generation. Warring sentient alien robots, capable of transforming themselves into vehicles, bring their fight to earth. But, aside from that 1980's oh-so-cool premise, what was it that caught the attention of its viewers? I would argue it was the opening theme song (credited to Johnny Douglas).

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Trunk-Maker in the Upper Gallery

My final recital at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis will take place on May 27th. As we're about eight weeks away from it, I'm required to submit a number of documents to the secretaries including some detailed program notes. My program is based around John Ernest Galliard, known best today for his bassoon sonatas. He was, however, an important figure in London's musical circles and his writings (or what we believe to be his writings) give us a great deal of information on the first years of opera in London.

The interior of the Queen's Theatre in the
Haymarket. This was probably not the
theatre described in The Spectator, but
you get a good idea of what the inside of an
 18th century playhouse would look like.
 Engraving by Claude-RenĂ©-Gabriel
 Poulleau from G.-P.-M. Dumont’s
‘Parallèle de plans de plus belles
 salles de spectacles d’Italie et de
France’ (Paris, 1764).
During my research, I came across an hilarious letter in The Spectator, a daily publication founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele which was in circulation in 1711 and 1712. I've copied the entire story below, which has been republished by Project Gutenberg.

If concert halls today had their own "Trunk-Maker", it might make for a much more interesting experience!

No. 235
Thursday, November 29, 1711

There is nothing which lies more within the Province of a Spectator than publick Shows and Diversions; and as among these there are none which can pretend to vie with those elegant Entertainments that are exhibited in our Theatres, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take Notice of every thing that is remarkable in such numerous and refined Assemblies.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reappropriating J.E. Galliard's Music 1, A Short Biography

Every bassoonist has played a sonata by John Ernest Galliard at least once in their career. Many have been exposed to the International Edition of his bassoon sonatas of 1733, and they are commonly heard at a beginner bassoon recital. Though I encourage the use of this material as a teaching aid, I am disappointed to find that few see these works as appropriate artistic material for a mature performer. If seen through the lens of a modern bassoonist, the Galliard sonatas are easy pieces, if a bit quirky. If one were to contextualize them, however, they would see that they were a product of an important theatrical composer in early 18th Century London. In the next posts on the subject, let us reappropriate the Galliard sonatas.

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