'Voyage of a Sea-god' recording project

by Laurence Perkins in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 5th April 2019 we successfully raised £4,137 with 50 supporters in 42 days

The bassoon's wonderful sound and amazing music deserves to be better known. This recording is an inspiring musical journey of exploration.

by Laurence Perkins in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

'Voyage of a Sea-god'

✽ Major focus on a much-neglected musical instrument

✽ Roughly 2½ hours of outstanding music by major composers

✽ Repertoire includes seven world première recordings

✽ Performances  with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, plus leading ensembles and musicians

✽ International 2-CD release by Hyperion, one of the world’s leading classical labels 

BACKGROUND 

I discovered the bassoon in the mid 1960s as a young teenager. Its wonderful sound and great music still captivates me, but the fact that so few people knew any bassoon music - or had even heard of it - was always a mystery. Emerging as a professional player in the mid-1970s, I made it my mission to put the bassoon more firmly on the musical map, and I took every opportunity to make recordings of bassoon music and feature the instrument on radio, television and in newspapers and magazines. The most recent recording reached No.4 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts in August 2018. You can see details of my work on https://laurenceperkins.com My new project (the biggest yet) is a major recording, focusing on music from the 20th century. This is when composers finally woke up to the real qualities of the bassoon and its wonderful expressive range. The instrument’s sound, described by Sacheverell Sitwell as “like a sea-god speaking”, was used and explored as never before, in new and highly imaginative ways. This new recording will be a celebration of some of the music from that vibrant century which features the bassoon either as a soloist or in a prominent role, including major works not previously recorded commercially (indicated by an asterisk * below). 

CONTENT 

The music forms a chronological journey through exactly 100 years, starting with the late-Victorian melodic elegance of English composer *Richard Walthew (1900). The great Russian composer Prokofiev adds a dark humour (1912), whilst the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos introduces exotic folk music influences from his native land (1933). There’s a strong British presence, including music by Arnold Bax (1936), Herbert Howells (1945) and *Elizabeth Maconchy’s wonderfully lyrical and virtuosic Concertino (1952), while *Alan Ridout creates wonderfully evocative Shakespearean images in music inspired by ‘The Tempest’ (1975). There are powerful expressions of anger and deep sorrow in music by the great Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik (1985) reflecting events in his homeland at that time, off-set by a gentle and highly original sound-world created by *Richard Rodney Bennett (1991). The final piece is an extraordinary 4-minute tone poem for solo bassoon by *David Bedford (1999), inspired by a Scottish mountain. 

PURPOSE 

To my knowledge, a recorded anthology of this kind, presenting around 2½ hours of bassoon music in a compelling musical journey through an entire century, is unique. The project will go a long way towards my life ambition - better recognition and appreciation of the special musical qualities of the bassoon. It involves collaborations with some of the finest ensembles and musicians, all working with a world-class production team, and the finished recording is to be released by one of the world’s leading classical labels - Hyperion. This is truly a life investment - a very special musical legacy for years to come. 

WHAT IS NEEDED? 

In order to complete the project, I need to raise £70,000 

WHERE DOES THIS MONEY GO? 

Professional recording is of course a hugely expensive process, and this considerable sum is needed to cover orchestral costs, musicians fees in the smaller ensembles, management costs, hire of special venues with suitable acoustics and facilities for several days of recording sessions, session production and sound engineering costs, post-production work, travel, accommodation, subsistence, and a number of other miscellaneous costs associated with preparing a studio-grade master recording of roughly 2½ hours of music. 

TESTIMONIALS 

"There was an age-old quip that ‘if you owned a Bassoon you could make a living, if you could play it you could make a fortune’.  Well, thanks to the pioneering work of Laurence Perkins there are now a great many people who can play it, but not many who can excel as far as Laurence.  He has done so much to expand the repertoire, and champion many seemingly lost works.  He is an outstanding soloist, a brilliant teacher, a most sympathetic member of ensembles and orchestras, and a compelling advocate for this remarkable instrument. However, there is no fortune to be made and this wonderful project only exists through the support it has raised from generous donors, and may many follow their example!"

PROFESSOR GAVIN HENDERSON CBE - Principal, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and former Principal of Trinity College of Music/Trinity Laban.  He was also Director of Dartington International Summer School, the Brighton Festival and CEO of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Henderson

“Laurence Perkins has recorded an immense amount of music for bassoon with orchestras and ensembles, as well as with piano and for unaccompanied bassoon, all of which show his innate musicality and virtuosity. He is now launching a new and exciting project which is in effect to record an anthology of music for solo bassoon in the 20th century. The bassoon is a beautiful musical instrument which deserves more limelight and this should help in bringing it before a general public. However such a scheme will require a lot of funding and I would like to invite the many organisations and individuals that might be able to help to support this project.” 

ROGER BIRNSTINGL FRCM FGSM - Former solo bassoonist of London Symphony Orchestra and l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Birnstingl

“I have had the great pleasure of knowing and admiring for many years Laurence's tremendous skill not only as a player but also as a tireless ambassador for the bassoon. The idea of recording such a fascinating collection of 20th century gems richly deserves our support both financially and artistically - this really is too good an opportunity to miss!” 

BRIAN KAY, conductor, broadcaster and former King’s Singer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Kay 

“Not for Laurence Perkins the well-trodden road of oft-recorded bassoon bon-bons, but an intelligently planned journey through some of the most approachable and unexpected pieces in the repertoire for that instrument. No-one knows more about this repertoire than Laurence, whose musicianship and experience it will be a joy to encounter during these recordings.” 

ANDREW KEENER - Independent Recording Producer http://www.greenacre.info/Keener/

“A fantastic project by an extraordinarily talented soloist, to give much needed, and much-deserved publicity to a body of music that will bring great pleasure to many” 

PROFESSOR RAYMOND TALLIS - writer and physician http://www.raymondtallis.co.uk/pages/home.html

COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THE PROJECT

"This is a unique and beautiful programme"

“What a collection of great music to be recorded!”

“Fabulous to hear this instrument being showcased in this way.”

“Good luck with this fascinating project!”

HOW YOU CAN HELP 

Any support of any amount is hugely valuable and appreciated. 

Here are some options: 

1. £100 Your name will be listed in the CD booklet and on the https://laurenceperkins.com website as having given financial support towards the recording project, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. When released, you will be sent a CD which can be signed, if desired. 

2. £500 I will give a special presentation to a school, music hub or other educational institution, introducing the bassoon and broadening knowledge and understanding of the instrument. You will be credited and thanked as the person who made this session possible, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. Location of this event would be by agreement with you, and where possible arrangements would be made for you to attend the event, if you wish. You will also be listed in the CD booklet and on the https://laurenceperkins.com website as having given financial support towards the recording project, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. When released, you will be sent a CD which can be signed, if desired. 

3. £1000 I will lead a workshop with young players in a school, music hub or other educational institution, offering help and advice on group music-making and team-work. I will also give a special presentation to non-players in the same venue, introducing the bassoon and broadening knowledge and understanding of the instrument. You will be credited and thanked as the person who made this session possible, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. Location of these events would be by agreement with you, and where possible arrangements would be made for you to attend the event, if you wish. You will also be listed in the CD booklet and on the https://laurenceperkins.com website as having given financial support towards the recording project, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. When released, you will be sent a CD which can be signed, if desired. 

4. £2000 or more I will give a special 45-minute informal solo performance at your home or at a venue of your choice (within the UK only), as part of a social event which you can organise and invite family and friends. I will also lead a workshop with young players in a school, music hub or other educational institution, offering help and advice on group music-making and team-work. I will also give a special presentation to non-players in the same venue, introducing the bassoon and broadening knowledge and understanding of the instrument. You will be credited and thanked as the person who made this session possible, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. Location of these events would be by agreement with you, and where possible arrangements would be made for you to attend the event, if you wish. You will also be listed in the CD booklet and on the https://laurenceperkins.com website as having given financial support towards the recording project, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. When released, you will be sent a CD which can be signed, if desired.

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