Being a Klingon means you take no shit from others!
Add to that quote the cheekiness of the omnivore and garbage can gourmet the raccoon, and you have an unmistakable indication of in what spirit a piece with this challenging title should be played.
Johnny Reinhard, the spiritual father of this remarkable cross breeding, explains his vision of the piece in the introduction: “This work should be played as if the performer was embodying the spirit of an ‘alien’ raccoon.”
He continues: “As much of my music makes use of science fiction, I thought a ‘Klingon’ animal, a fictional world from the Star Trek lexicon, would be most appropriate for the contrabassoon. Some of the growling, multiphonic and singing instructions should be interpreted with this in mind.”
Reinhard wrote the piece for contrabassoonists Henry Skolnick, Monica Fucci, and the undersigned Lachende Fagottist.
We met each other during the 24th Double Reed Festival in 1995 in Rotterdam. We were all staying in the Pension De Lange on the Mathenesserlaan. At the breakfast table, we contabassoonists had quickly hit it off with the microtonal composer Reinhard , which was completely logical, as every contrabassoonist is a closet seasoned microtonalist. We understood each other!
It is exactly 25 years ago that this exceptional festival was organized by the Rotterdam Conservatory. Exceptional because it didn’t only offer the opportunity to admire the finest double reed players of the day, but also virtuosos of exotic double reed instruments such as the duduk, zorna, and shenai. The festival also offered a forum for musicians who had chosen different paths such as Johnny Reinhard: composer, musician, ethnomusicologist, teacher, radio producer, publisher, journalist, but above all bassoonist and microtonalist.
It can’t be a coincidence that 25 years after the writing of his Klingon Raccoon, just yesterday I found once again the music in a box that had survived my last five house moves unopened. I had been looking for it for years!
In the same box, I also found the program from a concert given by the Newt Hinton Ensemble on April 26, 1996 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Overture: the world premiere of Johnny Reinhard’s Klingon Raccoon with soloist De Lachende Fagottist.
From the performance I still remember that I had really tried to enter into the thought process of a Klingon Raccoon and, armed with my contra around my neck, immersed the unsuspecting audience in an atmosphere of threats, aggression, and self pride. Perhaps my snarling, howling, and barking did not sound like music to the audience, but I made my point and that is what it was all about!
Unfortunately, that was the only performance. To my knowledge the Klingon Raccoon was never again brought to life.
Luckily now that Johnny Reinhard is so willing to make his masterpiece available to the contrabassoon community by a free download on this blog, perhaps that will soon change.
This is an offer that you can’t refuse! Let me know when the performance is!
Thank you Johnny!
translation: Kathy Snelling