Original Tunes for the Big Bassoon

Susan Nigro, cbn; Mark Lindeblad, p

Crystal 847 - 63 minutes

The beast is alive!  Susan Nigro has been promoting the serpentine-looking contrabassoon for many years, thanks to Crystal records.  Here is a compilation of fresh tunes for the big bassoon.

Most of the works use piano accompaniment (Mark Lindeblad is also a bassoonist in the Chicago area).  The piece that  opens the program is a cheeky work called A day at the Park by Ann Marie Kurrasch.  Ms Kurrasch is a composer, educator, and performer in Los Angeles.  This three-movement programmatic work describes arriving and spending time in the park.

The next work, Little Suite for the Big Bassoon is by a former bassist of the Cincinnati Symphony, Frank Proto.  It is unaccompanied, and it shows the instrument's range, capabilities, and many sonorities.

There are a couple works by fellow ARG reviewer, Elaine Fine.  The first, More Greek Myths, is an exploration of musical temperaments from Apollo to Dionysus.   'Aphrodite' is the most beautiful piece.  One does not ordinarily expect the "sexy voice of the contrabassoon", as Ms Fine humorously puts it, to portray the goddess of love.  But, if you ever have, the moment you will not want to miss has arrived!  The second work by Ms Fine is Harlequin Sonata, based on the character of the Harlequin.  There is indeed good humor here.

Sandwiched in the middle of the program is a three-minute samba for the contrabassoon and piano called "ContraBassooNova".  Yes, you could really dance to this - and you would be humming the tune, too.

The last work is called "Potato Polka", suitable to the instrument.

This album is delightful.   If stuff like this doesn't put a smile on anyone's face, I don't know what would.