Unusually for him, Davies starts his Bassoon Concerto not with slow music but with speed and brilliance: the opening is a Presto, initiated by the strings, and only at the entry of the soloist does the tempo relax to that of a real introduction. Out of this grow a big dancing Allegro. The slow movement begins and ends with a simple song, around fantastical ornamentation from the soloist. The finale is again a recitative and dance, with a slow coda. The whole work is an immense show of stamina, poetry and athleticism for the bassoon, set against an orchestra coloured by low wind (alto flute, clarinet in A, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, horns).
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