Tuesday, August 16, 2011


For those of you who didn't know, August is Reed Month.

After finishing work with Chamberfest this past Friday, I - gradually - started to get back into my practice regime. I saw a new baroque flutist in town, I made two modern reeds, I made a baroque reed - Life was good. 

Because of the long work hours at the festival I, unfortunately, haven't been able to play my new Wietfeld baroque bassoon by Pau Orriols (His company has a name, but I keep blanking on it - let's call it Bazinga for now). Dominic in Toronto has been quite excited to see the instrument, so I decided to take it down with me when I saw him today. 

We worked for hours trying to come up with a good reed for it. I think we came up with an idea of a good shape after making six reeds. A Rieger 25 with a narrower tube, similar to a B1. The main problems we encountered involved a low high register - specifically, a really low middle C and D, or, once correcting the issue, the whole instrument playing too sharp. It really stumped us until, at the very end of the session, Dominic starting switching bocals around. He tried his Wolf/Grenser and Wolf/HKICW bocals and, in both cases, the low C/D problem disappeared. So, at least, we're a step closer for me to make the switch.

This coming Friday I'll be spending some time with my modern teacher, Jo Ann, as I get back into the modern instrument. I look forward to the fine tuning which I never have to do with baroque reeds. 

Finally, to complete my Reed Month tour, I'll be travelling to Basel, Swtizerland to meet a well known Historical Bassoonist named Donna. She made the recommendation that I buy the Bazinga, playing one herself, and has been very kind in organizing a small gathering of historical bassoonists while I'm there. She told me today that Basel is home to 25 historical bassoonists, 8 of which play the Bazinga. 25!?! IN ONE CITY!?!

With those odds, I'm confident I'll return to Canada next week with everything in working order - as well as a box full of reeds. 

Happy Reed Month to all!

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