PHILIPPE HERSANT (b.1948): 8 Pieces for Bassoon and Instrumental Ensemble, 8 Duos for Viola and Bassoon, Duo Sephardim for Viola and Bassoon, Wanderung for Female Choir and Bassoon (w/Schola San Rocco), Niggun and Hopi for Solo Bassoon.

Catalogue Number: 08S052

Label: Brilliant Classics

Reference: 95211

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: Hersant's style is firmly grounded in tonality and neoclassicism, though with a ready willingness to explore modern timbral innovations in a flexible, inquiring way. A good example is the 8 Duos, a series of very distinct character pieces for the unusual but effective combination of bassoon and viola. All the pieces are basically tonal and melodic, with modal and rhythmic inflections that suggest folk musics from different cultures and some limited extended techniques - pitch bending, glissandi, multiphonics. The Duo Sephardim for the same forces is a canonic treatment of an authentic Sephardic melody, plaintive and moving. The 8 Pieces form a kind of miniature concerto, the solo bassoon weaving its way through the ensemble in what the composer describes as 'a series of paintings'. The pieces draw on various Romantic models - the eerie fourth is a tribute to Liszt, quoting from La lugubre gondola - with echoes of Ravel, Poulenc and here and there Satie and early music, and some limited, atmospheric, use of multiphonics. The work's rich harmonic vocabulary and emotional variety stand out even in the company of the other fine and original pieces here. The solo pieces, Niggun and Hopi, draw on Hasidic and Native American melodies respectively, varied and presented in free variations, fully exploiting the technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument. Wanderung, sets a poem of Goethe in ethereal choral textures, while the bassoon accompanies, decorates and comments on the music with rich, sonorous accents. Andrea Bressan (bassoon), Mario Paladin (viola), Ex Novo Ensemble.

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