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.