Vivaldi, Telemann – Concerti per fagotto

https://www.discogs.com/release/7235136-Michael-McCraw-Capella-Clementina-Helmut-Müller-Brühl-Concerti-Per-Fagotto

Because this is probably the only record of its kind that I have, and I cannot find much about the concert itself, I will write something about the ‘fagotto’ or in English: bassoon. The bassoon is a woodwind double reed instrument like the oboe, but in a lower key. It features a huge range with a very expressive sound.

Part of the sound comes from the embouchure, the use of the lips and facial muscles to control the vibration of the reed. But the bassoon also has an impressive number of keys to control the airflow. Fingers of both hands and both thumbs are used to control 22 keys.

It might be because of this complicated construction, but the bassoon is not an instrument for the beginner. It is picked up by experienced oboe players maybe, but not as a first time instrument. Not particularly helping in this is the price: anywhere from around 2.000 euro up to an easy 50K, with a good model for around 6K.

The writer of the liner notes on this record chose the same approach as me: tell something about the instrument. He mentions the varied terminology to characterise the instrument. In Italian opera it was used as the sound of hell. Hmm, I wonder what view the Italians of that time had of hell?

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