Meet Australia’s 8-foot-long Baroque contrabassoon

Posted on: September 13, 2016

“It might be the oldest new instrument to arrive in Australia this year. It’s definitely the longest,” writes Andrew Burke in Sunday’s (9/11) Australian Financial Review. “The contrabassoon Sydney’s Pinchgut Opera took delivery of on Friday is 2.7 metres long, and according to the man who commissioned it, Pinchgut artistic director Erin Helyard, it will ‘look like a chimney stack rising up from the orchestra.’ The instrument, modelled on a contrabassoon made in Germany in 1714, has been specially made in Europe over the past 12 months. It becomes the latest replica early instrument bought by Pinchgut, the critically acclaimed company formed 15 years ago as part of the baroque music revival movement. Pinchgut’s focus is on baroque and early classical operas—written between about 1600 and the late 1700s—performed in the original manner and with the instruments which were used then. Bassoonist Simon Rickard, who usually plays the shorter baroque bassoon, was the first to get his hands on the new contrabassoon, which he described as ’the woodwind family’s answer to the double bass…. It’s lower than the double bass, the bottom note on this contrabassoon is the same as the lowest note on a concert grand piano.’ ”

Posted September 13, 2016