As I alluded to in the Literature Review, the most surprising discovery I made over the course of this project was just how little pedagogical material existed for any of these twenty-five bassoon excerpts. I expected a much larger portion of my pedagogical comments to deal with the different interpretations and practice strategies of various authors, but in reality, there was surprisingly little material to compare.
Over the course of developing this project, I made a number of small discoveries that could be expanded upon in the future. For example, while I have already discussed the issues found in the autographs of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Brahms’s Violin Concerto, Strauss’s *Till Eulenspiegel*, and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, I also noticed a curious discrepancy in the autograph score of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. At m. 65, it is common practice to play the G – A trill as shown in the bassoon part, but this trill indication is not present in Mozart’s autograph score. The flute line—identical to that of the bassoon—does have this trill marked in m. 65, so it is possible this was simply an oversight on Mozart’s part. What is puzzling, though, is that the Urtext score also includes this trill marking, despite the fact that it was supposedly based on Mozart’s autograph score. This trill would have been fairly difficult to perform on the bassoons of Mozart’s time, so the editor likely intimated that it should be included in modern editions of the score.1 Much like the issue of the low C in the Brahms Violin Concerto, this discrepancy would be an interesting subject to research further.
What about those remarks Mr. Weisberg made about Bolero? As it turned out, I did not find any evidence of the articulations he described, but it should be noted that I also did not have access to a facsimile copy of Ravel’s autograph score. However, in the two included recordings conducted by Ravel, the bassoonist definitely sounds like he is tonguing the notes in a similar manner to what Mr. Weisberg had described. Even more interesting is that the bassoonist also clearly tongues and separates each of the slurred notes in the seventh bar before Rehearsal 3. Could it be that Mr. Weisberg’s assumptions about the original articulation were based on these same recordings? Or had he actually examined a facsimile copy of the autograph score? Unfortunately, Mr. Weisberg passed away only a few months after that Bolero lesson—a full three years before I began this project—so I never had the chance to ask.
1 Though it is still very difficult for modern bassoonists, I tend to believe that Mozart would have included this trill if it had been less problematic for bassoonists of the late-eighteenth century. By comparing his bassoon concerto with the bassoon parts of his symphonies, we can see that Mozart had far less confidence in the ability of orchestral bassoonists to play in this range, likely due to the fact that Mozart himself often had little control over the quality of musicians performing his ensemble works.