Strauss Duett Concertino

Here's a live performance, from November 2006. of Richard Strauss' late work for Clarinet, Bassoon and string orchestra, Duett-Concertino. I was privileged to work with my colleague Betsy Sturdevant and the Columbus Symphony, Carlos Miguel Prieto, conducting. (If you want to know more about Betsy, check out her (new) blog at http://bassoonblog.blogspot.com

This work was composed in 1947, two years before he died. Strauss admitted the music has a story of sorts. The clarinet represents a princess, the bassoon a bear, and when the two dance together in the second part, the bear turns into a prince.

Strauss declared in that same year, 1947, "I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer!"

I've always loved his music, and this little gem has been close to my heart since I first heard it. The opening is gorgeous (until the bassoon comes in!! just kidding). The middle section (near the end of pt. 1), with a heart-wrenching solo for the bassoon, always bring a tear to my eye. I never knew until this performance that Strauss had a little story in mind. I can imagine the bear, sad and alone, yearning to be free to love the princess.

Technically it's quite a tricky piece to put together. Strauss has the clarinet and bassoon (and often the strings) playing 4 against 3.

I was playing a Behn C model Vintage mouthpiece, for those interested. The pitch on it rides a tad low, and from inside the orchestra, I had trouble projecting.

Pt. 1

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Pt. 2

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4 comments for “Strauss Duett Concertino

  1. Ted Walsh
    October 19, 2009 at

    Hi David,

    I've recently started to follow your blog. I'm a clarinettist from London UK.
    Your pages are both insightful and helpful on many levels. I'm very interested in your Jean-Jean project – something I've never learned though have recently bought them and will go through them.

    Fantastic performance of the Strauss by the way.

    Thanks again.

    Ted Walsh

    • October 19, 2009 at

      Hi Ted. Thanks for reading and following my blog. I'm excited about the JJ Project. Right now I'm a bit stuck on #2. I also need to plan a schedule and post it. (as you may be able to tell, this is an unfamiliar process, to accomplish a long term project, so I'm learning as I go)

  2. Will
    October 19, 2009 at

    That was a fantastic show! It was great to see you and Betsy.

    • October 19, 2009 at

      Thanks, Will. I take it you were at the original show. Cool. We had fun. Actually, it was work, but worth every minute.

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