Resident Dallas Symphony bassoonist Scott Walzel and pianist Steve Harlos gave new meaning to the concept of a bassoon recital March 21 by performing a repertoire that was a step beyond the wind instrument’s traditional supporting role.
Walzel adapted songs for solo performance with such forbidding titles as “Sonata in A Minor for Flute Alone” by J.S. Bach in his classical first half and “Scrapple from the Apple” by Charlie Parker in the jazz-oriented second half of the performance.
Walzel’s inspiration came from playing jazz saxophone throughout his entire undergraduate career, although he made the difficult decision to permanently retire in favor of a potentially more prosperous career in an orchestra with the bassoon.
“I had a choice when I went to grad school, and I locked away the sax so I wouldn’t be tempted by all the studio gigs in Los Angeles. I was glad with my decision but missed the music I got to play on sax.”
Walzel and Harlos merged more than 300 years of music – from the classical works of J .S. Bach and Alvin Etler to the jazz improvisations of Hoagy Carmichael, Errol Garner and Charlie Parker – and maintained firm composition throughout the performance despite alternating between drastically different musical genres. The performance was surprisingly engaging and a definite success.