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

Bassoon Bride

When I was in the Rockies

a pluckin’ with a band,

I spied a bassoon player,

and asked her for her hand.

Her eyes were green and friendly.

Her figure lank and tall.

And when she smiled at me,

my heart began to crawl.

I pulled her to the corner,

so she was mine alone.

Then all the guys around me

commenced in to groan.

“She’ll never play a fiddle

or  strum a mandolin,

so walk away without her

or you’ll commit a sin.”

I didn’t listen to them,

but claimed her all the same.

She kissed me very gently,

which proved she was my dame.

When I walked down the aisle,

my chest swelled up with pride.

My ring was on her finger.

I got my bassoon bride!

A Wonderful Collection Of Bassoon Pieces

A wonderful collection of bassoon pieces is Laurence Perkins’s The Playful Pachyderm.  This is my favorite bassoon recital CD put out by Hyperion.  Stirring interpretations of folk melodies are mixed with classic bassoon pieces such as Elgar’s Romance, Godfrey’s Lucy Long, and Fucik’s The Old Grumbler.  All throughout Perkins is more than equal to the selections, and plays crisply, displaying excellent tone and technique.  The Mist-covered Mountains, a Scottish folk melody, which adds a clarsach, is truly an exciting piece.  The CD ends with comic baritone Richard Suart adding a dose of humor and laughter.