1 May 2017

Alex TAYLOR: Bassoon Concerto

From NZ Composer Sessions, 12:00 pm on 1 May 2017
Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor Photo: Gareth Watkins / Lilburn Trust / Wallace Arts Trust

Alex Taylor: Bassoon Concerto

I. heave

II. shuffle

III. trudge

IV. jolt

V. roam

"This is the most recent of a number of works I have written for bassoonist Ben Hoadley. I have been privileged to write for and collaborate with Ben, whose expressivity is I think one of the treasures of New Zealand music. I cannot speak for all listeners, but for me the bassoon is one of the most personal of all instruments. It speaks not grandly or with perfect eloquence but with an immediacy and intimacy that is quite special.

The bassoon concerto was an opportunity to create an extended work exploring the melodic line and to push the limits of Ben's exquisite upper register. The work consists of three slow movements interrupted by two tiny slivers of energetic activity, ruptures in a continuous, static texture.

There is some kind of journey here, albeit simply expressed and slow in its unfolding. The music has ended up following its own course, offering not solutions or even reflections, but only a singular focus, a line, a channel. Therefore it has a certain kind of impermeability, and requires a deal of faith and patience in the single path, with all its bends and diversions.

The work is dedicated to my parents, Vicki and Trish.”

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Ben Hoadley (bassoon), Hamish McKeich (conductor).

Alex Taylor is one of New Zealand’s leading young composers of orchestral and chamber music. His works have been featured in concerts in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, America and Europe, performed by groups such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and 175 East. As well as composing, Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, poet, critic, lecturer, conductor and impresario. He has performed across a range of vocal and instrumental genres, including as lead vocalist for the Blackbird Ensemble, as concertmaster for the Auckland Youth Orchestra on their European tour in 2011, and as the Sorceress in his own re-composition of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Frances Moore’s Unstuck Opera. After studying English Literature and Music, Alex completed a Masters in Composition with First Class Honours under the Supervision of Eve de Castro-Robinson and John Elmsly in 2011. 

Recorded by RNZ Concert for the 2016 NZ Composer Sessions.