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Pascal Gallois

Let me say that I learned much from Maestro Luciano Berio. It was the best working relationship between an instrumentalist and a composer one could dream of.

When we began to work together, although I felt immediately how important it was to be for the history of the bassoon, I couldn't possibly imagine that it would be like that every day of my life! When I warm up on my bassoon, I do it with the Sequenza XII.

All of the new techniques that Luciano invented change the orchestral possibilities for the bassoon in comibination with other instruments. Every time a composer hands me a new piece, I think back to Luciano who asked me to show him all the new pieces I had for my instrument. He loved to read new scores. After the World Premiere of Sequenza XII he told me: «Pascal, now you must ask composers to write new pieces for you!». As a result, we now have brilliant pieces by Boulez, Rihm, Neuwirth, Fujikura, Staud and Haas, never mind the others…

I had the good fortune to work on the new version for bassoon of Boulez’s Dialogue de l'ombre double at the same time that I was working with Luciano on the Sequenza. He and Boulez were friends and he told me then that Boulez had composed the piece for him. There was, I felt, a deep and mutual admiration between Pierre and Luciano.

I must say that composers all over the world love the Sequenza for solo bassoon. Since Luciano left us, each performance of the Sequenza is a deep emotional moment. Particularly because I remember what Luciano said to me after the German Premiere in Lübeck: «Pascal, it is incredible, I looked at my watch and your interpretation lasted 25 minutes, as long as a Haydn Symphony, yet it seemed to me like five minutes. We have discovered something…»

I must admit to really liking what he called the disappearing time effect which you get by circular breathing and glissando.

So, for my this and future generations of bassoonists, a big thank you, Luciano.

Pascal Gallois