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The Playful Pachyderm


Here is music by Gilbert Vinter. He was born in Lincoln and trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he later became a bassoon teacher. He is chiefly remembered for his numerous highly imaginative compositions, and for his work as a light music conductor with the BBC Midland Light Orchestra from 1946 until his death, and briefly with the BBC Concert Orchestra in the early 1950s. A sample of Vinter’s characterful bassoon playing can be heard on a 10-inch 78rpm record of him playing Godfrey’s Lucy Long and Ganglberger’s Mein Teddybär, but after his wartime service, a busy conducting, composing and teaching schedule left little time for playing work. His compositions for brass band are frequently performed, as are his chamber and instrumental works, notably Hunter’s Moon for horn and strings, and Two Miniatures (From Norfolk and From Devon) for wind quintet. There is also his delightful Scherzo for three bassoons, subtitled ‘Three Men in a Tub’. In addition to a Quintet for bassoon and string quartet, he left two solo compositions for the bassoon – a lyrical Reverie, and The Playful Pachyderm, which was first published by Boosey and Hawkes in 1942. It was originally written with piano accompaniment, but the characterful writing seemed to cry out for orchestral colour, hence my orchestration which was made specifically for this performance. Vinter did not provide any notes or information about the piece, but my visualization of it is that of a large Disney-like creature sleeping (perhaps snoring) at the beginning, until he suddenly wakes up and, with little jumps for joy, greets the day. Then he is off on his journey, which certainly does turn out to be a playful one – until the music suddenly stops. A new melody emerges – languid, amourous, possibly an encounter with a female pachyderm? There is a respectful but nevertheless tongue-in-cheek nod in the direction of Debussy here (another animal-inspired piece) before our pachyderm returns to his fun-filled journey. Then, as the music winds down near the end, our thick-skinned quadruped returns to slumber after his exhausting adventures.

from notes by Laurence Perkins © 2004


The Playful Pachyderm
Studio Master: CDA67453Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Track-specific metadata for CDA67453 track 7

Recording date
4 July 2003
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Will Brown & Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. The Playful Pachyderm (CDA67453)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: November 2004
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