Over a period of time wandering the World Wide Web I have stumbled across or have been sent some wild and wonderful bassoon related links. Some of the most useful are listed below. Please email me if you have found other exciting links as this will help all things bassoon related work their way up the search engines. As Google is busy indexing pages all the time it is also good to search on "bassoon" for yourself and delve into the results. "bassoon reeds weather change effect" was a very fruitful search for me recently. Sadly the UK bassoon world is somewhat behind in putting information on the web so many of these links take you off over the pond and to Europe. Hopefully this will be rectified over the next year as more UK players realise the value of the Internet in connecting people. . . . .
Stephan Leitzinger makes the most useful and flexible crooks I have ever come across. Sitting in the orchestra and needing to play from ppp to fff in tune and evenly across four octaves I have found out for myself exactly what a breakthrough his developments have been! Some things that were just uncomfortable before are now easy. These bassoon "bocals" give you the freedom to shape the sound and a control over dynamics (especially disappearing to pp) that I have not found even in my favourite Heckel crooks. Though these have been known about in Europe and the USA for some time few UK players have heard about them. However, his success at the IDRS convention in Birmingham has changed this and word is spreading fast. Check out the details at www.leitzinger.de/en/instruments/bocals/ I invited Stephan Leitzinger to come to the Big Double Reed Day at the Guildhall in November 2011 and he brought plenty of crooks as well as two of his bassoons. It was a busy day with lots of people trying these and finding crooks to suit their instruments. But also it was an exciting day for me as I got to try both the bassoons and see just how flexible they are. They are the closest thing to a pre war Heckel that I have found but without the problems of tuning and lack of high notes! A beautiful sound. As of May 2013 I am now playing on a brand new Leitzinger bassoon and am very happy to share my adventures coming to this conclusion and why I have done so. Send me a message via the contact page. As of September 2013 I am the UK contact point for Leitzinger bassoon crooks and have a number of these to try by appointment. More information on the Leitzinger page of this site. Julian Partridge of the Ulster Orchestra got his Leitzinger crook in 2011 after trying mine: "I've been playing Fox bassoons for over 20 years and have always used Heckel crooks with them; finding the factory Fox crooks lacking flexibility, especially for grovelling around when playing 2nd bassoon. When I was working in Hong Kong I bought a Heckel C1 which was wonderful at grovelling. But I always thought it was weak in the tenor register. Fast forward ten years and Tom showed me a Leitzinger crook, which at first I didn't warm to, but then a few months ago he leant me an M1N and I thought "wow". It has more resistance than my Heckel but is great in the tenor register and is supremely flexible in all registers. There are rumours of a contra crook.. can't wait." Julian Partridge Acting Principal Bassoon Ulster Orchestra (Now the proud owner of the M1N) . . . .
A fabulous resource for master classes with top international musicians. It has some clips so you can get the feel for what will be the most use to you (as well as more clips on Youtube) and the full videos (which play in their own dedicated programme) are available at a reasonable price. See the free download on Breathing which is fabulous! As are the masterclasses with Gustavo Nunez. June 2012. Now includes a fabulous masterclass with Sergio Azzolini on playing Vivaldi See my blog for the Azzolini review. bit.ly/KXxqJl . . . .
Have a question about bassoons, oboes, reeds? The most comprehensive resource and forum we have. Join in! . . . .
Our own UK double reed help. There is a new website just launched! . . . .
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not believe in trying to say it in music." Gustav Mahler 1860-1911 . . . .
With the intention to create more lyrical and tuneful contemporary repertoire for the bassoon, this is a short piece I wrote for bassoon and piano that you can hear here: myspace.com/tomhardybassoon It is currently on the Trinity Guildhall lists for Grade VI. It is reviewed here - www.idrs.org/publications/cont ... sic_reviews.pdf "What a fabulous piece of music! It is slow and expressive, mainly written in the tenor clef range. However, it goes no higher than top C and has no awkward jumps. It is about grade 6 in standard. It has a beautifully atmospheric piano part that is not too difficult and therefore would be a handy addition to any bassoonist’s concert repertoire. Tom Hardy clearly knows how to write for the bassoon and make it sound good. The tunes are phrased in a very natural way, with slurs in all the right places. The crescendos and diminuendos follow the idosyncrasies of the bassoon and so you can feel very safe making dramatic use of the expression marked. Well worth investing in." And is available from here - www.spartanpress.co.uk/spweb/details.php?catno=CM165 as well as from all good music shops. It also appears on the Grade VI exam lists for the Trinity Guildhall exams for bassoon. . . . .
Roger Tropman has recently put his own website live after years of just having his Nexus Woodwind eBay.com site. Ever helpful and always innovating and finding ways to find economical ways of getting quality tools, I recommend this shop. He has provided me with a constant source of materials and tools for myself and pupils for the last six years.
Christian Davidsson's site (bassoonist in Royal Opera Stockholm) contains one of the most sensible articles I have seen on reed adjusting and also a set of midi files of bassoon repertoire. www.canit.se/~chrisdav/reedadj.html -Reeds The midi files sound horrible if just played through Sibelius or similar, but I have been editing them in Logic Pro and Reason 3 to get a nice piano sound and some dynamics and rubato. This could make a very useful "music minus one" CD if I can find the time to do this! Also his site links to lots of other useful resources for bassoon. . . . .
Very useful site with detailed reed making tips from Barrick Stees, Assistant Principal Bassoonist of the Cleveland Orchestra. He teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Akron. I have followed his reed making methods for a year and have found his advice not only very useful but also to contain tips that I have not seen anywhere else. In fact the reeds I made following his methods to the letter (rather than later ones where I watered it all down and took shortcuts) have lasted me many months. . . . .
At the centre of the wind player's galaxy for London is of course Howarth in Chiltern Street. Now with its own dedicated bassoon showroom. Their repairman Neil Allen who works from the Howarth Factory in Worthing (where the tenoroons and mini bassoons come from as well as Howarth oboes) is the most on the ball bassoon playing repair man in the UK and consistently turns out very fine work.
Fantastic collection of music, fingerings, information for the bassoonist collected and and compiled by Icel A. Kendrick, professional bassoonist for 30 years
The incredible world of Udo Heng and his constant pushing forwards of the boundaries for tools for oboe and bassoon.
Cardiff based double reed supplier with a good site with a wide range of items.
Amy Harman introduces the bassoon . . . .
Andrew is the second bassoon at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and has dozens and dozens of useful tips on his site from a long career in the pit.
First bassoon in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with a great site and links to videos and performaces
A very fine player who has persisted with building a solo career as a bassoonist who is an inspiration. Lots of recordings of her as downloads on www.emusic.com too where you will find recordings of her with the Caliban Bassoon Quartet to amuse and amaze. Check out "Bassoonatics" and "Feast" and even "Caliban does Christmas". www.caliban.ca
The best supplier of wind music on the planet now has a smart Web site that you can actually FIND things on!