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The Unspeakable Thing

by Thomas Little

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Part of my work as a composer is in the exploration of new sounds, and part of the exploration of new sounds is the recontextualization of existing instruments. The contrabassoon is an instrument even less common in chamber music than its smaller and more versatile cousin, the bassoon, and its repertoire consists pretty much entirely of orchestral excerpts.

Many of my recent works, including this piece and the four-movement "Flight Portraits" (uploaded on this channel), take instruments unused to chamber settings and putting them in that kind of spotlight. In "The Unspeakable Thing," material is presented and recontextualized in a freely expressionistic manner. The result is a highly theatrical piece that showcases unusual aspects of the instrument, such as its surprisingly resonant high notes.


released May 3, 2016
Benjamin Bradshaw, contrabassoon
Peyton Clifford, recording supervisor

Special thanks to Michael Rothkopf, Saxton Rose, and Jason Czaja


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Thomas Little North Carolina

Composer and pianist originally from North Carolina. YouTube's “Classical Nerd.” Getting his PhD in Composition at the University at Buffalo. Occasional mushroom hunter.

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