Music Written for Bassoon by Bassoonists: An Overview

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Burns, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: In his article on the bassoon in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, William Waterhouse, the prominent British bassoonist and scholar, lists some of the earliest known works written for bassoon1. Several pieces are listed that feature it either as part of an ensemble or in combination with one or two other solo instruments. It is worth noting that the first known composition for the bassoon alone is by a bassoonist, Fantasia per fagotto solo, a set of variations, appears in a collection written by Bertoloméo de Selma y Salaverde, a seventeenth century Spanish monk, bassoonist, and composer who published the Libro de Canzoni, Fantasia e Correnti in Venice in 16382. This work is also notable in that it descends down to a low Bb (Bbl), a note which was not believed to be possible on the instruments of that time, leading to speculation that perhaps he was already using a four-keyed bassoon3. A dedicatory sonnet accompanying the Libro de Canzoni, Fantasie e Correnti praises Selma y Salaverde for his skill on the bassoon4. Bertoloméo was bassoonist to the Archduke Leopold of Austria and the florid variations indicate a high technical proficiency'.5

Additional Information

The Double Reed, vol. 24-2, 2001.
Language: English
Date: 2001

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