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Steve Harriswangler plays World Premiere of Bernaud Concerto

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    Simon Williams
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    In Ferrol, Spain, last Thursday, November 22, Steve Harriswangler gave the first performance of Fagkonzert by Alain Bernaud, with accompaniment by the Orquestra Sinfonica de Galicia, conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk. The programme was repeated the following night in A Coruna. This attractive and challenging piece was written as long ago as 2012, is dedicated to Maurice Allard; and although it surely cries out for the French-system bassoon, Steve did it justice on his Heckel with a fine bravura, delicate pianissimos and clean articulation. The tightly-wrought texture matches the string orchestra with the soloist throughout. The lively first movement includes a reference to the part of the original “Fagkonzert” (of Mozart), as well as an extended cadenza. The hauntingly atmospheric slow movement should become a popular favourite on its own, and a gigue-time finale tests the nerve of everybody, giving the bassoon a thorough work-out of tricky articulation and hair-raising wide slurs from top f down. Though tricky, the part is civilized and easy to read. The music (piano reduction) is available to download at http://abernaud.free.fr/Alain_Bernaud/Manuscrits_files/FAGKONZERTRedABernaud.pdf. I would recommend it as worthy of many further performances, and I am glad that I made the trip from Ireland to hear its auspicious unveiling; and I was honoured to join Steve’s dad, Frank Wangler, Mary Ellen and the children on this joyful occasion. Well done indeed, Steve, especially as the programme continued with Shostakovich 7!
    Simon Williams

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