Quintet for Bassoon and Strings (2005&ndash,08) was commissioned by The Commission Project
and is dedicated to Klaus Heymann, in tribute for his invigoration of the classical recording
industry and his enthusiastic support for the composers of our time.
The original conception for the work was devised during an extremely foggy week on
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in the summer of 2005. It is music deeply connected to the
ocean landscape. Throughout the work, the strings often present a fog-like backdrop,
through which the bassoon´s color emerges like a lighthouse beacon&mdash,lyrical and flexible.
The work opens with a series of interlocking, nebulous figurations in the strings that
gradually build in intensity. The bassoon unfolds the work´s basic melodic material in a free
solo that also increases in intensity. At the point of climax, the tempo suddenly slows
dramatically, and a tender, lyrical cantilena emerges. As this music dissolves, a bouncy and
energetic music takes the foreground. It climaxes in a bassoon cadenza. Though the bassoon
has played the leader throughout, this is the first time it is heard unaccompanied. A brief,
but vigorous afterglow recalls the opening of the work. The final section emerges out of it: a
series of high, distant harmonics (perhaps harbor buoys) in the strings through which the
bassoon sings a final song.