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PROGRAM NOTES by the composer

Concerto for Contrabassoon with clarinet, horn, and strings

In October 1988, contrabassoonist Norman Spielberg asked me to compose a concerto for contrabassoon and small orchestra, to be premiered by the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. He asked that it highlight the lyrical side of the contrabassoon rather than the grotesque effects often linked to this instrument. Being a bass clarinetist myself, I was very sympathetic to this request! The Concerto was composed mostly between Summer 1990 and January 1991, commissioned by the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia through the generous assistance of the Presser Foundation. It was premiered in November 1991 by Norman Spielberg with the Concerto Soloists, with James Freeman as guest conductor. The music is in three movements, played without pause.

Concerto for Contrabassoon is scored for solo contra with 1 Clarinet, 1 Horn, and Strings.

In addition to the piano reduction, the concerto is also available in a "Quartet Version" for Contrabassoon, Clarinet, Horn, and Piano, with the piano playing a reduction of the string section.

The Concerto has been received very warmly by the contrabassoon community and has been performed by ensembles ranging from the Colorado Symphony to the Federal Police Orchestra of Argentina. The Concerto led the International Contrabassoon Festival to commission my In A Deep Funk: Dance Set for Unaccompanied Contrabassoon for its 1997 mandatory competition piece, and it led Susan Nigro and Burl Lane to commission Sonatina d'Amore for two contrabassoons.

  Manufacturer Bernt Moosman fixing Roger Soren's 
  contrabassoon with Crazy Glue, just before Roger's 
  performance of the Dorff
Concerto at 
  the 2010 IDRS convention.

last updated February 20, 2020