instrumentation: solo contrabassoon
duration: 3.5 minutes
When my dear friend and very accomplished bassoonist Anthony Parnther approached me to write a piece for him to showcase his contrabassoon, I was inspired immediately. It isn’t often we get to hear the contrabassoon on its own. As the lowest instrument in the orchestra, it is usually supporting the strings or brass with its sepulchral depth. Few are aware that this deep leviathan has a lyric side. Not only did I want to exploit its more expressive qualities, I wanted to take it to its extreme: I wanted it to dance. And so poured out this tune that I called Oak Demon. It is taunting and playful, yet menacing at the same time – a combination that only a contrabassoon can achieve.