Skywalker Ranch


This last week I had a chance to record a session a Skywalker Ranch with the San Francisco Wind Ensemble. We even had the opportunity to work with Leslie Ann, the very talented recording engineer of Skywalker sound. In total we recorded:

Ida Gotkovsky: Poeme du Feu

David Maslanka: In Memoriam

Boris Kozhevnikov: Symphony 3

Darrol Barry: Prevailing Winds

Besides having fun at Skywalker, this gig was very different for me in that it was with a wind ensemble. I haven’t played with a wind ensemble since high school and I wasn’t very aware of my own bassoon sound at that time. Wind ensembles have saxophones, euphoniums, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and multiple clarinets doubling each part. So in this situation the bassoon section is at a loss; with an entire sax family and clarinet family the bassoon is barely audible. Not to mention that any dynamics I performed hardly made a dent in the overall sound of that passage. The bassoons place in a concert band a very limited and unflattering. Much of the bassoon part is rhythmic background, if it is a moving line then it is doubled by saxophones or euphoniums. I think I will stick to orchestras from now on!


1 Comment

  1. I think what you are seeing as unflattering parts in a wind ensemble is simply a lot of composers that just don’t know how to write good parts for the instrument. Bassoons are not as common in many school bands, so school band composers write them in as an afterthought much of the time. I happen to love the sound of a bassoon, and I think it’s invaluable to a wind ensemble such as this.

    Speaking as a percussionist. I was there with you at Skywalker!

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