Concerto after Mendelssohn for Bassoon and Piano was written between December 10, 2016 and January 26, 2017. Not many people know that Mendelssohn was actually intending to write a concerto for Carl Traugott Queisser, the principal trombonist in his Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Unfortunately for trombonists and music lovers, the project was never realized, and consequently David DeBoor Canfield thought that it might be worthwhile to attempt to write a trombone concerto that might have borne some similarity to the one that Mendelssohn could have written. Realizing the dearth of works in 19th-century Romantic styles for bassoon and tenor saxophone as solo instruments, he prepared versions of this piece as well for these instruments. All three versions may be considered "originals," since they have been tailored to the solo instruments they employ. The bassoon and saxophone versions are in fact a bit longer than the trombone version, since the trombonists have endurance issues that have to be taken into consideration.
The first movement is written in modified sonata allegro form, with divergence from that form coming as the development section flows immediately out of the elaboration of the second theme in the relative major. Another novelty occurs after a short cadenza, where there is no coda, but only a reiteration of Mendelssohn's bridge movement.
The second movement is in A-B-A song form, with an opening that features long lines in the solo instrument. The work concludes with a driving finale in modified rondo form. The movement is fast with a lot of notes, and the spirit of the movement is inspired by that found in the Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream.
As in other "After" works in Canfield's output, the composer didn't concern himself too much with the places in this work that sound more like Canfield writing in a 19th-century style than Mendelssohn, but he did make an effort to incorporate the melodic gestures and harmonic sequences normally associated with this great composer. The development section of the first movement also incorporates a good bit of counterpoint to pay homage to Mendelssohn's rediscovery of the music of Bach.
The concerto is dedicated to bassoonist Rodney Ackmann. Canfield also sought to personalize this work for its dedicatee and did so by customizing the solo part specifically with the bassoon in mind. There are significant differences between the solo bassoon part in this version compared to the solo parts of the tenor saxophone and trombone versions. Prof. Ackmann edited the solo part throughout. He premiered the piano-accompanied version of this work with pianist En-chi Anna Ho on May 2, 2018, and the orchestra version with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra under the direction of Irving L. Wagner on Ocotober 2, 2018. Total duration: approximately 17 minutes.
The version on this web page is for bassoon and piano. Concerto after Mendelssohn for bassoon and orchestra is also available separately (JP6049).
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