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.
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.
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.
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.
Time to starting thinking about next year’s program!