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  1. So, I am a huge fan of some of the music that is starting to come out these days. I am very excited about one of the directions classical music is taking. There are several composers who represent this direction that I refer to. For so long (nearly a century) music withdrew from its romance with emotion, it withdrew from expressive melody and lush harmony, it withdrew from a tonal center and a lyricism. Few composers held to these ideas in music. Namely I can think of Samuel Barber as someone who wrote beautiful expressive music in a period where Schoenberg's 12 tone technique came to take over and rule the land. Now, it seems that we are beginning to come out of that phase. What I enjoy so much is that we are returning to the tenants of romantic era music without it sounding like romantic era music whatsoever. We have discovered something through the 20th century and it has influenced our 21st century romanticism. We are starting to embark on a journey of sounds and textures, uses for instruments not previously thought of, fusions of musical styles and traditions that result in incredible sounds all while staying true to what makes music music. One of the composers at the forefront of this and one of my favorites is Christopher Theofanidis. Most people know Theofanidis for his Rainbow Body and rightfully so. It is expansive, beautiful, meditative, exciting and brilliant. However, Christopher has written a new Bassoon Concerto and it is incredible. Don't think for a second that you know how he will use this instrument. At times he uses it almost in the way you would use a jazz saxophone solo other times it is used as if it is a pipe on a set of bagpipes and the orchestra is the drone. He gets so many uses and sounds out of the bassoon that I have never heard before. The soloist is incredible. His name is Martin Kuuskmann - first time I had ever heard of him, but he kills the interpretation of this piece. The piece starts out with a solo for the bassoon that reminds me of a local saxophone player that we have were I live. His name is Bobby Watson. One time I saw an outdoor concert where he played Amazing Grace. That saxophone solo wailed through the valleys of the hills and through and between the buildings of the downtown area. Then it is off to the races. The speed at which he plays and the attack on each note is incredible. The second movement is my favorite. The build is luxurious and beautiful. The concept is unique and visionary. In my opinion this could drag out forever and there would be no issue with it. The last movement is blistering and super exciting. The ending is also very unique. The only thing that was initially confusing to me was the fact that the bassoon doesn't finish the piece on the high note. Interestingly, it goes back down and fades out. It took my ear a few listens to get used to that part. Nevertheless, this is the kind of music and the kind of incredible ideas that I love seeing - thinking outside of the box. I love the harmonic language. I love the open exciting chords. I love the concepts with the bassoon. I love the melody and the direction of the piece. I love that there is incredible music being written now!
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