Copyright © 2014 Kelvin Thomson
Boojum for solo bassoon and orchestra
extract from British Double Reed Society 101, Winter 2012
A fascinating tale of shoes
The premiere performance of ‘An Arrangement of Shoes’, a 75-minute long production, which was enacted entirely by Anitha Santhanam, was recently presented at the Ranga Shankara.
'The play was written by Abhishek Majumdar and directed by Vivek V Narayan. The play, which combined various audio-visual media, offered the audience a
peek into the workings of family life. It was depicted entirely through the recollections of Rukhsar, the play’s protagonist. The memories she narrated allowed her to touch upon many different and relevant issues like religion, war, relationships, society and even the influence of Indian cinema. However, the most interesting part of this play was how shoes ended up becoming the connecting thread of the entire story. The protagonist played five separate roles, and impressed the audience with her excellent voice modulation and changes in facial expressions. The background music was composed by Kelvin Thomson. It also helped in creating the intended ambience in the play, especially during intense moments.'
Deccan Herald, Bangalore, 2.12.11
'The Enfield Young Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Philip Colman were certainly up to the challenge of the differing musical styles in Boojum (including good use of drum kit) and generally accompanied the bassoon very well. Balance can often be a problem when using the full symphony orchestra, but the combination of a well projected solo sound, good orchestrations and a well-rehearsed orchestra meant this was never an issue. Some very impressive playing by Joshua Wilson who really captured the contrasts of the high lyrical playing and the low comedy moments showing great technical command of the instrument. All the more impressive in my eyes is that Joshua very much initiated the work, first approaching Kelvin to ask about the possibilities of writing a new piece specifically for him and EYSO. Then with help from Enfield Arts Support Services he saw it through to tonight’s World Premiere – a great experience for so many players.
Boojum ticks many boxes for me – it’s great to have any new pieces written for Bassoon especially ones that gently introduce both players and audiences into a more modern and varied sound world. It doesn’t need anything out of the ordinary orchestrally (no expensive hire of rare percussion!) and above all is playable by a good youth orchestra (or indeed any orchestra) and a competent soloist.'
Pete teaches Bassoon at The Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and Wells Cathedral School.