New sound clips: Faculty woodwinds recital, Aug. 30, 2011

I’m pleased to share some audio from my Delta State University faculty recital a few weeks ago.The big event of the evening was the premiere of Sy Brandon’s Divertissement for multiple woodwinds and piano, which seemed to be well received. It’s gratifying to be involved in the creation of a piece that fills a gap in the small multiple woodwinds repertoire—something than can be played by a woodwind doubler, without having to bring in a concert band, a truckload of electronics, or obscure instruments. The audience seemed to enjoy the derring-do of the final movement, which involves six instruments.

Brandon: Divertissement (flute, alto saxophone, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, piccolo)

I’ve studied the Bonneau Caprice en forme de valse in the past and have had students perform it, but this was the first time I played it in public myself. Since I’m trying to balance a half-dozen or more instruments, I tend to shy away from pieces that seem too technical, and, in that respect, this was the riskiest piece on the program. I was mostly pleased with how it turned out.

Bonneau: Caprice en forme de valse (alto saxophone)

All of Poulenc’s woodwind sonatas are on my short list of favorites. I learned the oboe sonata from scratch for this recital. The clarinet sonata I have performed in bits and pieces, and, having spent a good part of the summer focused on the clarinet, I wanted the clarinet sonata to be essentially the finale of the program (the Ray Pizzi piece being a sort of programmed encore). The clarinet sonata ended up being the performance that I was least satisfied with—there were a number of mistakes, several of which were total surprises, and my sound on that instrument still isn’t what I want it to be.

Poulenc: Sonata (oboe)
Poulenc: Sonata (clarinet)

Ray Pizzi’s Ode to a Toad has been on my to-do list for a while now, and it was a hit with the audience. Finishing the program with an unaccompanied piece, and on the bassoon to boot—an instrument that is still in many ways outside my comfort zone—wasn’t a choice I made lightly. But after the recital I could hear people humming it in the lobby, so I’m calling it a success.

Pizzi: Ode to a Toad

Time to starting thinking about next year’s program!


14 responses to “New sound clips: Faculty woodwinds recital, Aug. 30, 2011”

  1. Carina Nyberg Washington Avatar
    Carina Nyberg Washington

    Nice website! And congratulations on your recital. I am always in awe of people who can play more instruments than one.

  2. *Shaking fists in mock rage* Damn you Pimentel!

  3. Geoff Allen Avatar
    Geoff Allen

    Nice stuff. Thanks for sharing it! And the doubling is fantastic! Sounds like a “real” flute player, a “real” bassoonist, a “real” oboist, etc. Kudos!

  4. Your clarinet tone sounds fine to me, Bret. Listen to something you performed on the instrument two or three years ago to put it all in perspective.

  5. Jonathan Pickette Avatar
    Jonathan Pickette

    Nice website! What arrangement did you use for your performance? On the sight where it can be purchased, it says divertissement is 15 minutes long, but your audio file is only 2 or 3 minutes! Did you only play some of each movement?

    1. Do you mean which arrangement of the sixth movement of Divertissement? I used the version for multiple woodwinds. I performed the complete piece, but the audio sample above is only selected excerpts.

      1. Jonathan Pickette Avatar
        Jonathan Pickette

        Oh, Ok! Thanks Bret! That explains why it was so short.

  6. Jonathan Pickette Avatar
    Jonathan Pickette

    Hey, It’s me again! Sorry to bother you, but I have another question. What is the highest note for bassoon in “Valse?” Thank you !

    1. The Valse ascends to high B-flat.

      1. Jonathan Pickette Avatar
        Jonathan Pickette

        Oh good! So it doesn’t go to ungodly highs. Thanks again Bret!

  7. Lovely and impressive work Bret! And you should be given credit for laying bare your fears and reservations — most educational!

    Regarding your dissatisfaction with your clarinet tone: Is that occurring to you while listening to the recording, or while actually playing? I am often disappointed at my own tone on live recordings, but it seems fine when it’s happening. Some kind of head fake! Makes ya wanna say, I sound better than that… I think… Could it be mic placement, EQ, room acoustics, etc., etc., rather than you?

    1. Thanks, John. It’s not just on recordings. But I’m still working on it, and it’s improving. Like Michael pointed out, it’s definitely better than even a few short years ago!

  8. Maybe you should try an Albert system clarinet. Now THAT would be a double! :^)

  9. YAH Bret !!! Thanks for playing my “Ode to a Toad” Sounds fantastic, you certainly captured the spirit, would love to hear more of it. Ray Pizzi

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