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Talanted Anderson performs best from bassoon's limited repertoire



Erika Anderson '91, bassoon.

With James McLaren G, 'cello

and Ronnie Schwartz, piano.

Works by Mozart, Dutilleux, and Weber.

Killian Hall, Friday, March 10.


FRIDAY, ERIKA ANDERSON '91 GAVE A bassoon recital as part of the Advanced Music Performance Recital Series in Killian Hall. The 50-minute performance was, in addition to a display of Anderson's talents, a delightful musical diversion. Overall, her playing showed depth and very good technique. The program consisted of Mozart's Sonata for Bassoon and Cello, K. 292, Henri Dutilleux's Sarabande et Cortege for Bassoon and Piano, and Weber's Concerto in F Major, Op. 75.

The Sonata for Bassoon and Cello is a subtle piece which displays the delicate side of Mozart. The first movement shares its main theme with Mozart's Concerto for Bassoon, but develops it much more effectively. The second, andante movement, contains some of Mozart's most beautiful passages. Cellist James McLaren G's sweet, rich tone perfectly complemented Anderson's playing in bringing out the delicacy of the music. The last movement was full of light humor reminiscent of Haydn. Anderson's playing was relaxed and confident, although she missed some of the subtleties of the piece. Except for a stumbled start at the first movement, the duo handled the piece well.

Sarabande et Cortege was a good change of pace from the first piece. An early work of Dutilleux (1942), it is heavily influenced by Ravel and the French impressionist school, yet has individual qualities that transcend its influences. The mysterious Sarabande contains haunting melodies which were handled superbly by Anderson's dark tone and restrained playing. Never resolving its mystery, the Sarabande is answered by the grotesque, tongue-in-cheek Cortege, for which Anderson's playing worked equally well. Ronnie Schwartz's piano playing was appropriately somber, but unfortunately overpowered Anderson at times.

The Weber concerto concentrates on displaying the soloist's technique, and as such, works fine. Anderson handled the fast scale passages flawlessly, although air leakage distracted from her performance at times. Unfortunately, rather than being a piece of serious music, the concerto is trivial and pompous. For this reason it is difficult to critique the duo's interpretation of the piece. The work is for bassoon and orchestra but was arranged for bassoon and piano. Schwartz's playing was exaggerated, making the opening of the first movement sound like a scherzo, but it is hard to see if it is possible to do otherwise. Overall, the piece is tolerable as lightweight fluff, although Anderson's heavy tone was more suited to the other pieces than this one.

Worthy of note are the acoustics of Killian Hall. Both the cello and bassoon duo and piano and bassoon duo were served well by the hall acoustics, both duos sounding loud, clear, and rich.

The program selection is to be commended as well. With the limited repertory for the bassoon, it is noteworthy that the program contained a cohesive selection of fine bassoon music. The hour was well spent listening to very talented performers playing interesting (with the exception of the Weber), not too serious music. If future Advanced Music Performance recitals, which take place every Friday noon at Killian Hall, have performers as good as last Friday, it is highly recommended to anyone with a free noon hour to go see them.