BASSOON REPERTOIRE with Guest Keith Collins

Due to the Fantastic Response and Wealth of Material shared by Guest Keith Collins last week, he is back for another Guest Video this week.

JSU Bassoon Studio with Keith Collins in his Guest Masterclass Series.

The focus of today’s material is Pesky Low Notes, Development of the two styles of Bassoon- the German and the French, Historical Perspective on Standard Bassoon Repertoire, and Equal Temperament. 

A chat about Early Bassoon Repertoire means we get to talk about Bach getting into a fist fight with a bassoonist! I love when music history goes High Drama like a Tabloid.

It is possible that prior to this blog you might not have known there were two systems, the French Basson and the German Heckel-Almenräder Fagott. No Worries! I had a similar moment in my own bassoon travels.

Most of the world plays on the more prominent German System. But don’t tell the French this. I figured that out the hard way.  🙂

My first experience with French Bassoon was in France at the Paris Conservatoire. My boyfriend at the time studied there and I was visiting him during my vacation. I remember sitting in the lounge having an espresso and watching a student with a basson walk casually past me. I am sure I stared in a very non chic American way.

Photo of Me and My Vintage Boyfriend of the Time.

Where were all the keys? Why was the bell different? What was that? And where did she get her fantastic cashmere cardigan?

I was almost too embarrassed to ask (about the bassoon) but I did because that is who I am- unabashed and a “barbaric” foreigner, as they called me.

 My only saving grace was that when they called me “barbaric”  I referenced that they had thought the same of Beethoven, at first. My wit has always been My Survival tool- that coupled with Fashion. And then I went and bought some French shoes to better “fit in.” The cardi was no longer available and best to represent my own fashion voice after being inspired by cashmere.

French Bassoon

Later that week at French Music Parties the number one question I was asked was- “Do you play Basson?” Not the German Fagott but the French Basson. As a foreigner I quickly learned the level of Nationalism that this instrument portrayed. And the importance it served for French compositions.

Who knew that Ravel or Stravinsky could be made EASIER by Performing on the Instrument it was intended for, The French Basson?!?

And just in case you care- At these parties I was complimented on my black and white Audrey Hepburn style ballet flats. 🙂

In this week’s video we are not only covering the development of the Two Systems of Bassoon but Historical Repertoire, even that fantastic story of a the Fist Fight between J.S. Bach and Johann Geyersbach, bassoonist.

Because who doesn’t love a bit of historical gossip.

I giggle every time I see this meme and couldn’t help but include it.

And I love how Rock Star this story is- with musicians losing their tempers over what we now often consider “polite” music. Sheer Passion.

Keith takes us from  the “Zippel Fagottist” of Bach to the importance of the early engravings on the Telemann Sonata in F Minor  TWV41:f4 for Bassoon. Standard Repertoire for Bassoon that may be interpreted and performed differently based on historical knowledge.

It is possible the first note is not an Eighth Note but rather part of a Triplet! More on this in the Video.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Keith as our guest as much as I’ve enjoyed meeting up with him and catching up.



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