Bassoon Ecstasy: Nadina Mackie Jackson And Milan Turkovic

Antonio Vivaldi, noted baroque composer, wrote 39 bassoon concerti, supposedly, for his female students, but no proof exists that such was the case.  Il Prete Rosso(The Red Priest) seems to have had a special affection for this instrument unlike any composer before him.  Some critics, however, have stated that Vivaldi wrote one bassoon concerto 39 times!  It is Nadina’s purpose to show that this is not true and she succeeds!  As Nadina writes:  “The extraordinary collection of 39 bassoon concerti by Antonio Vivaldi provides a journey of a lifetime, and I intend to visit every stop on this incredible ride…”  In the first volume of a purported five volume series, she proceeds to do just that.

From the first notes, Nadina plays with abandon, tonguing at lightening speed in the fast passages, while giving the quiet passages all her reflection and introspection.  Notes are scattered in all directions only to reunite with stronger bonding.  She reinvigorates Vivaldi’s works with a fury and intensity rare in my hearing.  Nicholas McGegan’s ensemble provides her ample support, but she is the star, promenading and displaying the bassoon in its many facets.  I can’t wait to hear subsequent volumes!IMG_5892

Can you imagine four bassoons playing together?  When one of these bassoonists is Milan Turkovic, listening becomes an undisguised pleasure.  Milan is one of the world’s most renowned bassoonists and a consummate artist.  Known for impeccable tone and a sly wit, he never disappoints.  His attempts at slides give certain pieces a jazz feel, which Milan delights in.  He has recorded Mozart’s famous concerto several times and each interpretation is unique and revelatory.

This disc is great fun to listen to and I recommend it highly.  The four bassoons give a unique sound to “Summertime” and “Flight of the Bumblebee”, among many others.  A great way to spend a lazy weekend!IMG_5895

“Like The Wind Across Your Face, Lucas Boy.”

The previous year is already gone, replaced by a new year.  Thus, it seems fitting to quote marshal Micah Torrance’s description of the passage of time from The Rifleman:  “Like the wind across your face, Lucas boy.”  He is an older man talking to a younger man, Lucas McCain, about the fleeting nature of time, a major theme in the show.

The series shows the special relationship between widower, Lucas McCain and his son Mark.  We see how Mark changes, from a ten-year-old to an adolescent and how this affects the relationship with his father.  He learns to accept people’s differences(another major theme), and learn there is a time for different things in life.  But, even in the early episodes, Mark takes an active role in defending his father and saving his life.  The Rifleman really deals with Mark’s education in the broadest sense, from going to the confines of the schoolhouse to learning about survival amidst rugged terrain.  His interaction with his father gives the show its dynamic, as they confront outlaws, outcasts, people uncertain of what they want and people who are too proud to admit they may be wrong.

In the last episode, we see Mark with a potential girlfriend, though it is clear Mark is not ready for commitment.  If the series had continued, Mark would have become an adult, which was not what The Rifleman was about.  As an audience, we are visual witnesses to the characters’ swift aging, and we are forced to accept Micah’s statement about the sudden rush of time.