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Sketches is a contemporary concerto for bassoon and orchestra written to feature the extraordinary talents of bassoonist Colin Hemmingsen. The bassoon part can be played as written, or improvised freely according to the soloist’s whim.
The piece begins with a short melodic statement from the strings that is repeated with a bassoon obbligato followed by a short developmental section resolving to A minor. A transitionary passage with call and response between bassoon, woodwinds and strings is then heard before a bassoon solo cadenza to end. Throughout this movement the bassoon is heard in a fairly conventional setting with minimal improvisation, very much in contrast to the two following movements.
The second movement begins with a repeated ostinato under the bassoon’s free melodic line leading to a rhythmic string figure which introduces a blues-influenced segment with bassoon, guitar, bass and drums. A short orchestral interlude is next before the lyrical middle section, followed by another interlude ending with solo bassoon. A brief canon from the strings evolves into a driving bassoon solo backed by strings and woodwinds and
The third movement introduces a new theme in 3/4 time that becomes the basis for further developments and continued soloing from the bassoon before the theme finally returns in a modified form to finish with the bassoon playing an extended solo cadenza.
Commissioned with funding from Creative New Zealand
04 May 2008: 2008 NZSO-SOUNZ Readings 1