Treasured Tunes featuring Christopher Ulffers

Podcast Transcript


Welcome to Treasured Tunes where professors from the East Carolina University School of Music offer commentary about selected musical pieces. Please sit back and enjoy the music.

Christopher Ulffers Speaking

My name is Christopher Ulffers, I’m the professor of bassoon and Associate Director of the School of Music here at East Carolina University. The piece I want to share with you today is the first movement of a concerto for bassoon and a cappella choir by Norwegian composer Egil Hovland. In a regular concerto the solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra. In this case, Hovland uses a cappella choir singing the text of the Agnus Dei from the Roman Catholic Mass to accompany the bassoon, and the effect is really beautiful. I discovered this piece in the Summer of 2005 while searching for music for choir and bassoon. I just happened to come across the website of Norwegian bassoonist Robert Rønnes, who gave the world premiere of the concerto in 2002. After listening to a few audio clips, I had to get the music. I ordered it directly from Norway. I talked with the Director of Choral Activities and we finally were able to perform it in February of 2009 as part of our New Music Festival at East Carolina. That performance marked the North American premiere of the concerto. We recorded the concerto for Gothic Records in May of that year. It was commercially released in October of 2010. I hope you enjoy our performance.

Music playing composed by Egil Hovland (Agnus Dei, first movement, performed by Christopher Ulffers on bassoon and the East Carolina University Chamber Singers)

This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit the Treasured Tunes index.