Jokingly called “the bedpost,” the bassoon is the most omitted instrument in the classical solo repertoire. But the Quad City Symphony’s March 5 premiere of Jacob Bancks’ Dream Variations was serious musical business – a delightful and diverse 22-minute exploration of all things bassoon that helps fill the void.
Dream Variations for bassoon & orchestra was a plunge into the technical and musical possibilities of a solo instrument seldom heard up-front. But the Adler Theatre concert was also a showcase for local talent. Bancks is an Augustana College faculty member, and his technically acrobatic Dreams was brought to life by Mark Timmerman, the principal bassoonist of the New York Metropolitan Opera but also a Davenport native. And leading a performance that also included Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn and Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations was Quad City Symphony Associate Conductor Benjamin Klemme, a Pleasant Valley High School graduate making his conducting debut with the orchestra.