Bassoon Concerto (1979)

Ruth Lomon

Bassoon and Orchestra

"Throughout the work Lomon shows a deft hand at orchestration, supporting the solo bassoon with a subtly balanced ensemble that highlights individual instruments in delightful combinations. Her masterful use of color lends a kaleidoscopic landscape to the work." 
- Luna Pearl Woolf, IAWM Journal

The Bassoon Concerto was composed in 1978-79 during breaks from teaching composition, piano, and solfege. The 1st movement was composed in August 1978 during a residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM. The 2nd movement was completed in November at the Ossabaw Island Project, an arts colony off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. The 3rd was composed a year later while Lomon was living in Paris.

The Concerto is written in a freely atonal style that eschews strict serialism. The 1st movement is strongly influenced by a quote from Lomon's setting of 'Oh, Rose' for contralto and viola that was published 15 years earlier in her song cycle based on the poetry of William Blake. The song's opening rising motive, B-D-Bb, becomes a pivotal gesture in this movement.

The musical form of this work owes much to elements of timbre and sonority. Lomon's attention to detail is evident in the delicate and ever changing effects she achieves with this "chamber music" style of orchestration.

Two musical quotations play a role in the structure of the 2nd movement: a hymn, "Lead us heavenly Father, lead us" and the French children's song "Sur le Pont d'Avignon." Both melodies merge in the brass before disappearing from the movement.

The scherzo 3rd movement was inspired by a dance recital that Lomon attended in Paris. The dancer was encased in a sack from which he attempted to free himself. A richly patterned isorhythmic technique in the woodwinds and layering of the wind instruments functions as the sack while the bassoon line emulates the dancer trying to break free. There are also the sounds of Paris--church bells and an imitation of the Doppler effect as police cars approacah and pass by a stationary object.

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Score available for purchase sson from Neuma Records and Publications