Keening

for solo bassoon

Richard Baker

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Composer Richard Baker
ISMN

9790570681495

Composer

Year of Composition

Instrumentation

Duration

3

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-rb1k1

Notes

Duncan Prescott was a supremely talented clarinettist who died tragically young in 2011. I conducted him in Composers Ensemble many times, and he had performed and recorded my music often. With him I made my professional conducting debut, and also studio recordings of the music of Gerald Barry (which he adored) for BBC Radio 3. When John Woolrich invited me to contribute a short solo piece for a memorial concert in Dartington Hall, during the summer school on which Duncan had been due to teach, I chose to write for solo bassoon, and the first performance was given by Duncan’s colleague Sarah Burnett.

The piece is made from reiterations of a single falling gesture, a kind of ritual weeping, which gives way first to silence, and then to a plaintive melody in the bassoon’s highest register. The melody is adapted from one of the few surviving keening songs, recorded by Kitty Gallagher.