Compostela on MSR Classics

Compostela for Solo Bassoon by Jenni Brandon appears on the CD “Compostela” on the MSR Classics label. Recorded by Eric Van der Veer Varner.



Compostela for Solo Bassoon by Jenni Brandon appears on the CD “Compostela” recorded by Eric Van der Veer Varner on MSR Classics.

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About Compostela

Compostela for solo bassoon work tells the story of the pilgrimage along The Camino Francés.  It is the most popular of the pilgrimage routes through Spain that lead to Santiago de Compostela, or the church where the bones of St. James the Apostle are said to be buried.  The title of this work has two meanings.  “Compostela” is translated by some to mean “field of a star”.  This comes from the legend of the discovery of St. James the apostle – his body was said to be revealed by a star to Theodomir, Bishop of Ira Flavia in 813.  The Compostela is also the certificate that is given to pilgrims at the completion of their journey, or when they reach the grand church in Santiago de Compostela which holds the remains of St. James.  To me, the title touches on both the ethereal and the physical of this pilgrimage.  It is not so much about the destination, but the personal journey the pilgrim takes with each step along the Camino de Santiago.  As we travel along this path, the bassoon narrates what we may see and hear, how we may feel, and what we discover about ourselves as we take this personal journey.

This work was commissioned by Eric Van der Veer Varner, who introduced me to the Camino de Santiago when we talked about a new work for him during IDRS 2017 at Lawrence University. His enthusiasm and knowledge about the trail inspired me to dig deeper into this pilgrimage I knew nothing about, but now join many people around the world in being fascinated by the history and meaning of the Camino.  It is an honor to write this piece for him to premiere and record.*

From MSR Classic’s website: Bassoonist Eric Van der Veer Varner enjoyed a particularly rich and varied musical career. Varner was the principal bassoonist with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra from 2004 through 2015, appearing as a soloist with them on numerous occasions, his playing with them described as being “of ineffable liquid beauty.” Previously, Varner held positions with the Ann Arbor Symphony, Michigan Opera Theater and Sarasota Opera Orchestra. He performed in numerous summer festivals, including the Bellingham Festival of Music, the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival and the Glickman-Popkin Bassoon Camp. Also an active soloist and chamber musician, Varner appeared throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. He was a founding member of the PEN Trio, a trio d’anche (reed trio) that explores the traditional repertoire, as well as championing new music. In collaboration with TrevCo Music Publishing, the PEN Trio Collection was recently established to publish and otherwise disseminate works commissioned by the trio. Varner served as Professor of Bassoon and Woodwind Department Chair at the Lynn Conservatory. Previously, he held faculty appointments at Miami University (Ohio), Heidelberg University and the University of Windsor. He was the owner of TrevCo-Varner Music, one of the world’s foremost purveyors of sheet music for double reeds instruments, with more than 13,000 titles in their catalog from composers and publishers around the world. Varner held the Doctor of Musical Arts (2004) from the University of Michigan, where he also earned his Master of Music (2002) and Bachelor of Music (1996) degrees. Additionally, he held a degree in Artistic Education (1998) from the Maimlreinr-Heidelberg Conservatory in Germany.


I.          Toys Left in the Rain
II.        Strangers Have the Best Candy
III.       Lost: Green Parrot
IV.       Shark-infested Pudding (a one-dish scherzo)

KEN COOPER (1941-2003)
JAZZ SUITE for Bassoon, Piano, String Bass and Drums
I.          Energetic
II.        Moderate Jazz Waltz
III.       Slowly with Expression
IV.       Animated
V.        With Spirit

COMPOSTELA for Unaccompanied Bassoon
I.          Field of Stars
II.        Buen Camino!
III.       A Toast of Happiness
IV.       I was once…
V.        The Pit of Bones
VI.       Cruz del Ferro
VII.     The Scallop Shell

MAX LENZ (1887-?)
DER ANGEBER for Bassoon and Piano


MATHEMATICS for Bassoon and Piano
I.          Geometry
II.        Trigonometry
III.       Integral Calculus