Julius Fucik was born in Prague and studied the bassoon in the city’s Conservatory with the legendary Ludwig Milde (who wrote technical studies still used by bassoonists to this day). Fucik studied composition with Antonín Dvorák, and his output of nearly three hundred works – mostly shorter pieces in a lighter style – are colourful, well-written and in some cases quite inspired. His compositions for solo bassoon include a Concertino, and this delightful Polka Der alte Brummbär
(‘The Old Grumbler’) with its rather downbeat humour. It was written in 1907 and was originally scored for string orchestra, but this characterful music cries out for a wider orchestral colour, hence the various arrangements for orchestras and bands over the years. This bear is a little more ‘grumbly’ than Ganglberger’s teddy bear and certainly not as mischievous as Vinter’s pachyderm – except perhaps at the very end of this piece where he finally breaks into a romp, concluding with a delicious low B flat raspberry!
from notes by Laurence Perkins © 2004