Recital Report: Bassoonist Ellen Connors and Friends

Guest artist recitals are certainly one of the best ways to hear music you just won’t hear elsewhere and, often, music that has never found its way onto a recording (Naxos notwithstanding). To that end, the UT School of Music invited bassoonist Ellen Connors (principal bassoon in the KSO)  in for an hour of early evening musc; and she brought with her some colleagues for good measure.

The five selections were a veritable journey through bassoon music history from the Baroque to contemporary, some familiar and others totally unfamiliar. The works included the French Baroque composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier and his Sonata for Bassoon, Op. 50, No.4. Assisting on continuo were Daniel Thompson, double bass, and Wei-Chun Bernadette Lo, harpsichord.

Connors followed with an intriguing contemporary piece unknown to me by Karim Al-Zand, Three Character Pieces, for bassoon and viola. Hillary Herndon was the violist.

Following these were Louis Spohr’s Adagio, Paul Jeanjean’s jazzy, yet poignant Prelude and Scherzo, and ending with Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece No. 2 (for bassoon, clarinet, and piano), a cute piece written for some of Mendelssohn’s woodwind-playing friends. KSO interim principal clarinetist, Peter Cain, joined Connors for the Mendelssohn.

My advice: keep an eye on the UT School of Music guest artist schedule–there are a lot of gems to be discovered.


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