Widor Organ Symphony 5

I arranged the first movement of Widor’s Organ Symphony for 4 bassoons and 2 contrabassoons. This piece has been a favorite of mine for a long time and I always wanted to do an arrangement but it didn’t seem possible. I finally got around to doing it and I think it turned out pretty good.

The first bassoon. part has high F, F# and G so it would be good to have a high note setup to play the Bassoon 1 part. Here is the PDF of the score and parts.

Widor Organ Symphony 5 Bassoons PDF

Drilling a Bocal

I wanted to attempt to make my own high note bocal by drilling an additional vent hole. I have seen some articles mentioning bore size and placement so I decided to go for it. I bought a Fox CVX 3 specifically to destroy and some heat shrink tubing. The drill  bit that I used is an Irwin #60, it is 1.02mm.

I drilled through the top of the bocal at both 20mm and  25mm from the tip. Then I set 2 pieces of heat shrink tubing to cover the holes.

This allows me to choose which vent to use and also how much of the vent to have uncovered. So far I have noticed that the vent closest to the reed helps with the notes above high F but the tenor register has an airy rasp to it. The vent farther from the reed helps with notes to high F with less distortion of tone.

 

With the shrink wrap tubing put in place, the bocal works like normal. So it can be used normally for a piece of music and a vent can be opened for the specific passage that requires it.

Keyed Kontraptions at UC Davis

Keyed Kontraptions was the ensemble in residence at the University of California Davis Music Department 2019-2020. The residency and concert was originally scheduled to take place in April but due the the pandemic it was postponed.

Last month UC Davis was able to set up a system of low latency audio/video which allowed us to be in separate rooms but play together. This worked great and allowed us to record the concert!

 

Symphony Fantastique

This is my arrangement of Symphony Fantastique movement 4, March to the Scaffold. This contains a passage which is one of our great bassoon excerpts, originally it’s for the entire bassoon section to play as a 4 player soli. But I set it here as 3 bassoons 1 contra with the other parts playing the pizz. string lines. I think that this arrangement would also work if played on all bassoons without contras.

Symphony Fantastique PDF

Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5

Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote a series of 9 suites inspired by the composition style and harmonic procedures of JS Bach. Each of them is set with a different instrumentation and include traditional Brazilian folk tunes as well as popular melodies from 1930-1940.

Number 5 is for soprano and an orchestra of cellos. The original cello parts are divided into 4 cello parts with 2 players playing each part. In my video I stop before the middle section (because I didn’t want to deal with looping myself tempo changes)

Bachianas Brasileiras no 5 pdf

Smetana Die Moldau

Die Moldau by Bedrich Smetana represents a river that flows through Prague. It’s in compound meter and has sixteenth notes running constantly in the accompaniment parts, which gives the piece a flowing feeling. I set the viola line into the bassoon 3 part which is pretty busy but fun.

The ‘big melody’ of this movement is a tune called “La Mantovana” dating  from the sixteenth century. It has been used in many pieces, my favorite being Hatikvah which is the national anthem of Israel.

The PDF of my bassoon quintet arrangement is here:

Die Moldau Score pdf

Dvorak Serenade

Dvorak’s Serenade for winds is a piece that doesn’t get programmed enough. There is a whole catalogue of repertoire for large wind chamber ensembles that mostly goes unplayed, this work is one that gets a little more attention.

There are two passages of running sixteenth notes which originally trade off between bassoon, cello, and clarinet. I changed the voicing of this material to make it more bassoonable.

Dvorak Serenade Bassoons pdf

Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 315

This Violin concerto by Vivaldi is well known and gets a lot of air time especially in commercials. I thought that it would be funny to set for bassoon quartet since the bassoon has a specific kind of dry articulation. There are some measures cut from the original to make it more bassoon friendly.

The pdf to the sheet music is here:

Violin RV 315 pdf