The Contrabassoon and Contraforte

My entire knowledge of the contraforte and contrabassoon comes from an October 14th Washington Post  article by critic Anne Midgette. She interviewed Lewis Lipnick, who has played the contrabassoon for the National Symphony Orchestra for a long time. At the time the story was published, he had just bought a contraforte, which sounds a lot smoother. The low tones of both instruments invite humor (both off-color and gently sarcastic), which players take in stride as best they can. I enjoyed learning about the history of both instruments, and the clip where Lipnick is playing them.

Beethoven used the contrabassoon in one of the movements of The Ninth Symphony. That’s not shabby at all!

Classical WETA 90.9 has been celebrating “Christoph Eschenbach Month.” He’s the new music director of the NSO, and I really liked the cover profile Midgette wrote about him for the Washington Post magazine in early October. Both may be found in the archives.

A long time ago, our neighbor gave me a pocket guide to musical terms and instruments. I read and kept it for many years. Now that I enjoy listening to classical music more, I wish I still had it to refer to. Nowadays, there are tons of resources on the Internet. I picked this one from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra–for the audio and explanations that get kids (and anyone else) interested.

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