Bassoon Day

image It's been a while since bassoon day, but I didn't write about it at the time and I'm on a wifi-enabled bus right now, so why not!

I admit I wasn't actually there for the whole thing. I ended up working that morning-- teaching music classes to small children, in the classroom right beside the one being used as a vendor's room/general hang-out room for Bassoon Day. So, lots of "Mommy, can we go see the clarinets?" before and after the classes. They haven't gotten to bassoon yet in the Little Musicians curriculum... I'll be coming around to the classrooms some time soon to introduce them to it. (Last year, I walked into one class and the teacher said, "Wow! Boys and girls, how do you think you make a sound on THIS instrument?" One perceptive kid raised his hand and shouted "I know! You don't!")

So, I only caught the tail end of the masterclass with Mathieu Harel in the morning. However, I have played in his masterclasses in previous years, and he is a very perceptive teacher and entertaining speaker. In the afternoon was the masterclass with Ole Kristian Dahl: Nadia played the 2nd movement of the Mozart, Daniel Weber's Andante and Hungarian Rondo, I the Prelude from the 2nd Cello Suite, and Mary the Berwald Konzertstuck. None of us actually got very far into our pieces; he didn't need to hear the whole thing before deciding on a facet of technique that we wanted to work on. He suggested trying to hold pieces of paper against the keys even when the keys are up ("And in my studio, every time it falls, a euro in the jar!"), compared playing your first note slightly out of tune to getting on a train to the wrong city, and demonstrated how he could play the entire Scheherezade solo in one breath ("I won a crate of wine from my colleagues for that.") somehow he managed to keep the audience actually laughing (with us, not at us!) the whole time.

Later in the afternoon, there was a concert where Ole along with pianist Pamela Reimer and Stephane, Marty, Mathieu, and Michael (Principal, 2nd, Associate, and Contrabassoon of the OSM, respectively) played all sorts of bassoon things in various configurations including the premiere of a new trio for bassoon, contra and piano by Mathieu Lussier, who was also in attendance. Finally, the traditional forest of bassoons where every single person in the audience who has a bassoon (which is most of hem, obviously) gets up on stage for bassoon ensemble works. Kaitlin, a former McGill student who now studies with Ole, was even there via Skype on a music stand in the back row.

If you'd like to be updated about future McGill bassoon days, Stephane usually posts an announcement on the IDRS forum, or join the bassoon newsletter that Pascal Veraquin's woodwind shop sends out and an announcement will probably be made there.

Happy bassooning!