Marjan Mozetich: Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Marimba


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Concerto for Bassoon (2003) was funded jointly by The Ontario Arts Council and Michael Sweeney.


solo bassoon | marimba | strings


The solo bassoon part with piano reduction is available for purchase through the Canadian Music Centre.

Orchestral performance materials are also available for rental through the CMC.

OR phone: 1 (416) 961-6601

OR fax: 1 (416) 961-7198,

OR write to:

Music Services
The Canadian Music Centre
20 St. Joseph Street
Toronto, Ont. M4Y 1J9


Personnel heard on the mozart and well beyond CD.


June 6, 2003 - Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto - Michael Sweeney and The Seiler Strings with percussionist Graham Hargrove.


Marjan Mozetich has provided the following programme notes:

"Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Marimba was a joint commission from The Ontario Arts Council and Michael Sweeney. Since it had long been my goal to compose a concerto for each of the orchestral instruments, Michael's request for a bassoon concerto presented me with an ideal opportunity.

"Though the bassoon concerto repertoire is large, relatively few examples composed after the Baroque era have permanently entered the repertory. Because of this, I wanted to take up the interesting challenge of writing something that would be not only attractive and compelling, but enduring. I think I've met my first two goals, and as for the last, only time will tell.

"The piece is in one continuous movement that can be subdivided into an introduction, allegro, adagio, allegro, and a return to the introductory material. The entire work is derived from the initial melodic line of the bassoon. Overall, it is a voyage beginning with an entreating bassoon solo that invites the orchestra to participate in a journey of the pleasures and pains, joys and sadness of music." - M.M.


Programme Notes from the mozart and well beyond CD booklet:

While I was a member of the bassoon quartet, Caliban, my colleagues and I decided to expand our repertoire by commissioning a new composition. We were assisted in this endeavor by the Canadian Music Centre who made recordings and scores from a wide selection of composers working in a variety of styles available for our perusal. It was during this phase of our project that we first encountered, and became captivated by, Marjan Mozetich’s El Dorado for solo harp and string orchestra (played by the esteemed Erica Goodman). We quickly and easily agreed to ask Mozetich for a new bassoon quartet.

Having long had a keen interest in tonal modern music, I was thrilled at the prospect of working with a composer whose music spoke to me not only intellectually, but on a deeply satisfying emotional level as well. Once I had immersed myself in Mozetich’s recorded output, I realized that I would not be content with just the commissioned bassoon quartet, but that I wanted a concerto from him to play as well. To my great joy, after the première of the bassoon quartet, he agreed to my commission.

In preparation for composing a large-scale work for bassoon and ensemble, Mozetich asked for recordings and scores for the important works from the solo bassoon repertoire. I supplied him with materials for concertos from both the 20th century (Jolivet, Françaix, and John Williams) and from before (Vivaldi, Mozart, Weber, and Hummel). While he was very impressed with the technical demands of the modern work, he was most taken with the concertos of Antonio Vivaldi.

Perhaps in homage to Vivaldi, Mozetich chose to accompany his bassoon soloist with string orchestra and marimba, using the marimba somewhat as the harpsichord was used in ensemble music in Vivaldi’s day - to provide forward propulsion, and most particularly, to add articulation and colour to an otherwise homogenous string ensemble. Beyond this reference to Baroque-era "continuo" practice, one can also hear Vivaldi’s influence in Mozetich’s use of fast repeated notes and sequences of florid arpeggios for the bassoon. These superficial similarities to the music of Vivaldi are, however, only departure points for Mozetich. Both his basic musical materials, and the methods by which he transforms and develops them would have been inconceivable to Vivaldi and his contemporaries.

Herein lies the key to a contextual understanding of Mozetich’s music: while he composes using a 20th/21st century sound palette, his compositions are driven by decidedly pre-20th century aesthetic values including the primacy of melody, the functionality of comprehensible harmony, and recognizable proportions of form. This quality of inhabiting two musical worlds at once - modern sound idiom/pre-modern aesthetic values - is a chief characteristic of the so-called Romantic Postmodern school of composition, of which Mozetich is Canada's foremost exponent.

Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Marimba is an emotionally compelling, lyrical, and virtuosic postmodern work that journeys into a sound world at once invitingly familiar, and intriguingly new.

© 2004 Michael Sweeney


Critical comment on Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Marimba


Marjan Mozetich's compositions are registered with SOCAN.


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