Vivaldi wrote 39 concertos for bassoon, a veritable treasure trove for aficionados of the instrument, according to Sandra Bailey, accomplished soloist. One of them, the Concerto in A Minor for Bassoon, was the second of three selections Bailey played yesterday in one of Chicago’s most magnificent venues – the Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley hall. The deep, mellow tones from her bassoon and the skillful pianist accompanying her – Patrick Sinozich – were a treat to experience underneath one of the few surviving Tiffany glass domes in the world.
Bailey’s credits include serving as the Principal Bassoon with the Chicago Sinfonietta, and she will also soon take the second chair in the Little Rock Symphony’s upcoming season. She has won numerous awards and played in festivals and symphonies all over the world. She’s also currently a graduate student at DePaul. My experience hearing her yesterday marked my first occasion to appreciate a solo bassoon, and it was a treat.
The Vivaldi concerto was quintessential Vivaldi – short and spritely first movement, a lyrical second, and a virtuosic finish. Bailey’s warm comments from the mic indicated she developed a passion for him due to his longstanding work at a school for girls; she intimated that the school was really a place for the female children of noblemen and their mistresses. Apparently bassoonists are quite fond of the legendary violinist – while he wrote over 200 concertos for violin, the bassoon – at 39 – was his not-too-close second favorite instrument.
The first piece on the program was a whimsical romantic piece by Eugene Bozza, and was sadly already in progress when I arrived. The finale was Andre Jolivet’s Bassoon concerto for bassoon & Piano, which Bailey says is one of the notably difficult works for the bassoon. I know very little of the instrument, but her command of the modern piece was impressive.
The concert was one of the free productions of the Musician’s Club of Women – short shows they sponsor once or twice monthly at the Cultural Center at noontime. The recitals happen on Mondays, which happen to be one of my days off, so I plan on becoming a regular. I’m already looking forward to next month’s concert – pianist Esther Nyberg on August 28.
Thanks for reading.