Classical Music Review: Princess Christina Concours 2

The previous concert at the Nieuwe Kerk The Hague, had featured musicians playing cello, piano, clarinet. (See: Princess Christina 1) This time, it was a concert with ms Xenia Evers playing piano, and mr Thomas Dulfer bassoon. The only disappointment after this concert was, that it is so seldom we hear the combination of piano and bassoon.

Mr Dulfer kept information about the programme close to non-existent. There was no information about the selected pieces, nor about their composers. Personally, I prefer some background information, especially when the composers are fairly unknown. So as far as “podium presence” was concerned: room for improvement.

The concert started with two well-known composers: von Weber and von Beethoven. Mr Dulfer and Ms Evers played a version of the Allegro and Adagio from von Weber’s Concert for bassoon and orchestra op 75. It was lovely, babbling, sensitive music. The sounds of piano and bassoon made a perfect combination. Perhaps this combination was even better than an orchestra as it enabled the warm sound of the bassoon to stand out even better.

Ms Evers then performed von Beethoven’s Sonata op 14 nr 2 solo which he dedicated to Josepha von Braun. Ms Evers showed she was more than capable to accompany a fellow musicians as well as perform solo. She did not use sheet music, though this piece is not one of Beethoven’s easy pieces. Beethoven plays around with his themes as well as contrasts. But all the variations and sudden contrasts were perfectly rendered and it was a delight to listen to ms Evers’ interpretation.

That ms Evers performed this sonata like a dream, should come as no surprise. Like mr Dulfer, who already performs in orchestras, she has won several prizes and regularly takes part in contests which she combines with her Bachelor at the Amsterdam Conservatorium. In as far as it is possible to distinguish within a perfect rendering of this Beethoven sonata, I preferred her Andante.

Both musicians continued with two parts of G. Schreck’s Sonata op 9. Schreck wrote this piece when he was in his late thirties and lived and worked in Leipzig. Of the Allegro and Largo, the Largo was especially enjoyable. The Allegro from A. Tansman’s Sonatine for bassoon and piano, written during the fifties or sixties and this concert’s concluding piece, seemed technically the most taxing one for mr Dulfer. Nonetheless, he made it seem like a piece of cake.

Both musicians showed they were very versatile in this concert which ranged from romantic to modern, jazzy music. But the bassoon as solo instead of its usual role as part of an orchestra, was the true revelation for me.

Princess Christina Concours Concerts, Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague:
Ms Xenia Evers, piano
Mr Thomas Dulfer, bassoon

Selected parts from:
C.M. von Weber, Concert for bassoon and orchestra op 75;
L. von Beethoven, Sonata op 14 nr 2 in G;
G. Schreck, Sonata op 9;
A. Tasman, Sonatina for bassoon and piano.

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