Reed importance for soloist
Reed can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If an average player has a right reed, according to the mouth position, breath pressure strength and especially according to the piece which performer will play, that average player will also sound more professional than s/he really is. But in contrary the best bassoon player with wrong or bad reed will sound as s/he is beginner or inexperienced.
All reed instruments can be regarded as pressure-controlled instruments, which consist of three components:
· A player
· Breath as a primary sound source generator
· Reed as a resonator
These three elements are interdependent to each other. This week I will show some examples of non-professional bassoonist and their performance on 1st movement of Mozart Bassoon Concerto.
0, 19= at the very beginning of the piece performer used too much harsh tonguing. In my opinion her reed was scratched too much: We can understand that also from the sound which is uncontrolled. Tone should be flexible but this amount of flexibility is just unprofessional. Scratching the reed from both sides and the edge requires really fine work. In this recording she scratched too much especially from the edge of the reed because her tonguing is too harsh and at 00, 23 the reed is not vibrating so the low F cannot sound: We can just hear the air.
2, 22 and 4, 20= scratch sound of G at 2, 22 and F- B flat at 4,20again causes because of thin edges and thick back.
Besides the reed mistakes this performer also should gain more control on the mouth muscles to sound darker and cored. Also she has to control her dancing moves. Moving that much effects the quality of breath. It loosens the pressure.
This performer is more controlled and has more appropriate reed for this concerto. Not scratched too much from the heart so the sound is darker and stable. But this performer has some intonation problems. Lowering second E and third D means that you scratched the area too thick than you should do. Max 1mm should be scratched otherwise the intonation (especially E and D) will not be stable.
1, 19: Like the first example she also cannot sound the low F but this time it is because of not right breathing that you can understand from the sound and she makes the F sound at the end of that beat.
4, 03: wrong intonation on E flat is usual for bassoon players but for a soloist it shouldn’t be a problem.
In my opinion she is playing too legato. Style of this Mozart Concerto should be more precise and sharp. In this video I cannot hear staccatos enough. It can be because of thinning the very back of the reed too much or performers preference.
As a conclusion, according to my perception of music and bassoon the most beautiful and hypercorrect recording belongs to Klaus Thunemann. If you like to understand the warmth of the bassoon sound you should listen to this concerto from Thunemann.