Bassoons are fun…
Jeff plays bassoon with the Manawatu Sinfonia, an amateur band of nice people playing some interesting programmes.
He occasionally gives recitals, which kindly reviewers give kindly reviews:
Bassoon's qualities take centre stage
French Bassoon Music.
For most the bassoon is that rather elegant looking, slender instrument that you can see towards the back of an orchestra, but yesterday, Jeff McNeill revealed the instrument in all its glory in a charming and wide ranging programme that delighted the audience.
From the outset McNeill satiated our curiosity by introducing his programme with a lesson on how the instrument is assembled and how it operates. He followed this with two bassoon duets by Michel Corrette and Henri Tomasi which he played with Milja Albers-Pearce. These duets, superbly played, were a beautiful introduction to the qualities of the instrument.
McNeill proved his knowledge of the repertoire by presenting what was probably the New Zealand premiere of a work by Noel-Gallon, following this by a Saint-Saens' Sonata for Bassoon, both of these works accompanied by Kris Zuelicke. The virtuosity on display throughout was undeniable as the versatility of the instrument continued to be revealed, from its glorious haunting sounds to its agile, lively qualities, all well controlled by an obviously passionate exponent.
The programme also featured two beautiful flute solos from Diana Neild, one accompanied by Zuelicke, and the other by some fine work from harpist Anne-Gaelle Ausseil. The afternoon concluded with a bassoon, flute and harp trio by Andre Jolivet. Here the tone colours were interesting and beautiful on the ear bringing to a conclusion an programme of works by little known composers who, on this occasion, provided much musical richness.
Another wonderful afternoon in the Te Manawa Art Gallery series.
Baroque ones are even more fun – fewer keys make them more challenging to play some charming music!
Jamming on a Peter de Koningh copy (2000) of an Eichentopf (1732) bassoon (five keys) with Alain de Rijckere (playing a Cotett copy of a Denner), Brussels, 2007.
Jeff jamming on a Guntram Wolf copy of an Eisenmenger baroque bassoon at L’Eglise Protestante de Bruxelles – Chapelle Royale, Brussels, 2004. The church’s Forceville 1699 chamber organ is in the background.