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Work

Outposts : concerto for bassoon and orchestra

by James Ledger (2010)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Matthew Wilkie, Sydney Symphony, Hans Graf from the CD Concertos

Concertos

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This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.

CD

Concertos / James Ledger.

Library shelf no. CD 2348 [Available for loan]

Outposts

$84.68

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Score

Outposts : concerto for bassoon and orchestra / James Ledger.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2858186/LED 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

When thinking about this work, I was drawn to the word outpost, as it has a meaning of being removed from the main populace and a sense of isolation about it. Not unlike a soloist in an orchestra.

Outposts is made up of four contiguous movements. Near the end of each movement occur stark interruptions that are scored for bassoon soloist, vibraphone, harp and piano. Each of these 'outposts' is desolate, emulating the isolation of the real thing. Essentially, they are cadenzas for the bassoon soloist. Sometimes the bassoon reflects the solitary nature of the term and sometimes crying out against it.

I had the opportunity to work closely with Matthew Wilkie on this concerto and in doing so, was reminded of the diverse and compelling range of expression of the bassoon. The high register in particular captured my imagination as it has an element to it that reminds me of the human voice - but one full of despair. Needless to say, most of the outposts capitilise on this feature.

A brief description of each of the movements is as follows: The first is an ecstatically charged piece characterised by a repeating small rhythmic fragment that drives the music forward. The second movement is full of strange angles and turns in the melodic material. The third is an experiment in shifting timbral qualities of the bassoon. The final movement is a long, soaring line in the bassoon over an inverted bass line in the contrabassoon. Against this are cascades of rising and falling pizzicato strings.

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, oboe (doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets in A (2nd doubling bass clarinet), contrabassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, trombone, bass trombone, percussion (2 players), harp, piano, bassoon soloist, strings (10.8.6.5.4).

Duration: 19 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Matthew Wilkie, Sydney Symphony

Commission note: Commissioned by Alan Bishop, Christine Bishop.

First performance: by Matthew Wilkie, Sydney Symphony, Hans Graf at Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Ledger (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall) on 16 Mar 2011

Subjects

Performances of this work

17 Mar 2011: at Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Ledger (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring Matthew Wilkie, Sydney Symphony, Hans Graf.

16 Mar 2011: at Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Ledger (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring Matthew Wilkie, Sydney Symphony, Hans Graf.

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