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 contrabassoon gigs
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2009-05-13 01:39

I was talking with a fellow bassoonist tonight and contras came up. He felt that if one has a contra and you can play it, you'd automatically get more gigs. You might have to travel a bit, but once the word got out, you'd get work.

Do you feel that's true? I don't deny that contras are rare, but are there that many places that would want to use a contra in the first place that would go to the trouble of hiring you?

And what are the most common pieces that would use a contra?

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 Re: contrabassoon gigs
Author: leigthom 
Date:   2009-05-13 09:47

Hello Jaysne

I bought a contra as a retirement present about five years ago. Since then I have played Beethoven 5 & 9, Brahms 1 & 4, Ravel Mother Goose, Dewi Sant by Karl Jenkins, Dvorak Serenade in D minor. I'm off to do Camina Burana by Carl Orff in a few weeks. Most of these have involved travelling. But considering I'm an oboist word soon gets around that you have a contra. So far I haven't messed up anything and have thoroughly enjoyed myself!

The biggest problem is carrying the instrument, instrument stand, music stand etc, but a folding trolley has helped. If you have the chance get a contra and a new life suddenly opens up!


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 Re: contrabassoon gigs
Author: Ian White 
Date:   2009-05-13 14:09

There are lots of good contra parts in later c19th & c20th choral & orchestral works - Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Ravel, Richard Stauss, Elgar, Vaughan-Williams, Walton, Britten, Tippett, Bernstein. More Brahms - Symph 3, Academic Festival Ov, Haydn Variations & the Requiem. There is a long solo in Gliere's 3rd symphony - you definitely need to go into training for that one! Beethoven Missa Solemnis is a good test of your stamina. The greatest of the earlier works is Haydn's Creation. You could even get asked to do a large scale performance of Handel's Messiah.

In my part of the world (Oxford, UK) there is so much going on within 30 miles of home that I usually do 20 - 25 contra gigs a year & have to pass on a few & there are 2 other contra players around as well as university players.

Go for it & have some fun!


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 Re: contrabassoon gigs
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2009-05-14 01:17

Thanks for the responses!

Another question--I've never played contra before--how much different is it from normal bassoon?

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