Singaporean bassoonist's probing, enjoyable solo recital on CD

With this album, Jo Anne Sukumaran became the first Singaporean bassoonist to record a solo recital on compact disc.

An alumna of the Singapore Youth Orchestra, she completed her studies in Switzerland before pursuing a freelance career as solo, chamber and orchestral bassoonist.

Her programme is predominantly French, but eclectic in its variety. She opens with Philippe Hersant's Niggun, an unaccompanied Hasidic Hebrew song that showcases the bassoon's wide tonal and emotional range.

This work also has spiritual and aesthetic connections with two of Spaniard Manuel de Falla's Popular Spanish Songs - Asturiana and Nana - which are soothing and tender in expression, and the titular The Night Garden by Sukumaran and tabla player Sanjay Kansa Banik.

The latter is a short improvisation accompanied by tanpura based on two ragas that explore mysteries of the night and Sukumaran's own Indian heritage.

In between is Camille Saint-Saens' Bassoon Sonata (Op. 168), a late work exploiting the bassoon's avuncular and playful character. Charles Koechlin's Three Pieces (Op. 34), Alexandre Tansman's Sonatina and Norwegian bassonist Robert Ronnes' Reflexion are virtuosic yet soulful additions, sensitively accompanied by pianist Kseniia Vokhmianina.

This is a probing and enjoyable album, highlights of which will be relived by Sukumaran and her friends in a recital at Esplanade Recital Studio at 7.30pm on Oct 20. Tickets are available at Peatix.

  • CLASSICAL

  • THE NIGHT GARDEN

    Jo Anne Sukumaran, bassoon

    Kseniia Vokhmianina, piano et al

    Hello Stage 010

    Rating: 5 Stars

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2019, with the headline 'Singaporean bassoonist's probing, enjoyable solo recital on CD'. Print Edition | Subscribe