Thoughts on the search for fagottino and tenoroon repertoire

By Letizia Viola

The main question we ask ourselves in the search for suitable repertoire is: which pieces are written for fagottino and tenoroon and which, although written for bassoon, may be playable on either? This has led us to question everything we know, to re-think every tradition, to try everything we have played again. Some pieces listed on our repertoire list are written explicitly for fagottino, such as in Porpora’s opera Siface, or in a work for wind ensemble from J. Frost, as well as solo and chamber music works that are notated for ‘bassoon’ but can be played with smaller instruments.

An example of this is the Adagio from Beethoven’s Trio in G, Wo037 for piano, flute and bassoon, which in its very high range is difficult to execute on the bassoon, yet light and pleasant on a tenoroon in G. The use of tenoroons for well-known repertoire may well break certain boundaries and bring new colours and sounds to our ears.

Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), an Italian pianist and composer, wrote the following in his Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music:

“Every notation is already a transcription of an abstract idea. At the moment when the pen takes possession of it, the thought loses its original form. The intention to write down the idea requires the choice of time signature and key. Form and the means of sound, which the composer must choose, determine more and more the way and the borders.”

Following Busoni’s thoughts, one can also consider the presentation of a work as a transcription. From the first transformation to a second, the step is small. If we take more initiative and widen the scope of interpretation, new possibilities arise. After considering time signatures, keys, structures, and sounds of the highest and lowest tones, we found a way to exclude some instruments and select others. (Translation: Donna Agrell)

Watch: “A taste of Beethoven with tenoroon: Adagio from Beethoven’s Trio in G, Wo037 for piano, flute and bassoon” -a live performance –