Jenni Brandon’s “Double Helix” was performed by Kristen Wolfe Jensen and Lisa Leonard on January 12, 2020 at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, Festival of New Music. Lynn University is found at 3601 N Military Trl, Boca Raton, Florida 33431.
At the festival Jenni presented a 3 ½ hour seminar on January 13, 2019 on “Being a Composer in the 21st Century” that also included “The Art of Collaboration and Creativity”. Also, this year the New Music Festival is incorporating the Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition (BCMCC).
A tribute to the late Eric Van der Veer Varner was part of the Festival and the BCMCC.
The BCMCC is a non-profit organization with a mission to expand new music for the bassoon and to offer opportunities to composers. The competition, typically held every other year, increases the chamber repertoire available to bassoonists by encouraging composers to write new music that includes this instrument. The competition judges, comprised of professional musicians, provide feedback to each composer that enters. The BCMCC works with the winning composers to have the pieces published, premieres the winning works, and creates a recording with professional musicians.
Established over 25 years ago, the Lynn Conservatory is one of the leading conservatories within a university environment today. It admits a highly select group of gifted musicians from around the world to pursue a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music or Professional Performance Certificate. Our small class sizes and extensive performance opportunities are complemented by practical career preparation.
“Double Helix“ for bassoon and piano (bassoon and piano sheet music) was commissioned in 2014 by bassoonist Christin Schillinger to premiere and perform with Jed Moss on piano. This work is inspired by the sculpture of the same name by Long Beach, California sculptor Susan Hawkins. This sculpture (pictured on the cover of this score) depicts two separate figures dancing around each other, weaving their stories together, but never touching. I loved the idea of using terms that are frequently used to describe dance and began to see the curves and lines and unique topography of these sculptures as fluid and moving. The bassoon and the piano become these two dancers, gracefully moving across a stage to tell the story of this beautiful sculpture.
In “Prelude: Intertwine” the figures dance around each other, one at first (the piano), and then the bassoon joining in, flowing, and weaving in and out of each other. As they move into the “Entrechat” you can hear the fast movement of the feet as the dancer leaps from the floor, crossing and uncrossing the feet in mid-air as represented by the repeated staccato notes throughout this section. After much joyful leaping, the bassoon and piano take turns with solos in “Divertissement: Gentle Beauty”. Leading into the section “Soar” which begins innocuously enough, the dancers slowly begin to climb higher and higher, reaching a climax in this section as the bassoon dazzles with its range and the piano moves deftly from one end of the keyboard to the other. Finally in “Postlude (Epilogue)” the original intertwine theme returns, allowing the dancers to shift and flow gently around each other, gently shifting back into the still image of the sculpture as the sound fades away.
It was a joy to write this work for these talented musicians, who premiered the work on the campus of UCLA, September 21st, 2015. Since its premier, Double Helix has had a number of well received performances.
The CD “Bassoon Unbounded” features Jenni’s work Double Helix for bassoon and piano. This CD was recorded by Christin Schillinger – bassoon and Jed Moss – piano.
Label: MSR Classi