The solo voice of the bassoon is rarely heard in concert halls, but bassoonist Shelley Monroe Huang demonstrated Friday evening at St. Luke's Episcopal Church that it can be a delightful experience, indeed.
The concert was the sixth and final one in the 2011-12 series of the Jamestown Concert Assn.
Ms. Huang performed a concert lasting a bit more than an hour, but ranging widely from Baroque music to the romantics, the impressionists, the 20th Century, and two works written by her own husband, Huang Ruo. She expertly matched the demands of each and every style of music.
She began with ''Sonata for Bassoon and Piano.'' Audience members consulting their printed programs had prepared their ears to hear the Baroque sounds of composer Johann Friedrich Fasch, who was a contemporary of J.S. Bach. Instead, the sonata was the work of Hungarian-born composer Ivan Erod, a devoted serialist who is still very much alive at age 76 - a very different sound, indeed.
The work served well as an introductory piece, especially its second movement, which required flawless, smooth legato and solid sound, to the very bottom of the instrument's register. Then, in the third movement, it utilized every note in the scale at a lightning pace, demonstrating stellar technique.
The range of works continued through actual music by Fasch, plus Brahms, Saint-Saens, and the most modern, Huang Ruo. Her encore was a buttery-rich glide through Rachmaninoff's ''Vocalise,'' surprisingly appealing in a register so different than the soprano voice, for which it was written.
Matching her in both technical skill and phrasing was her accompanist, pianist Stephen Buck. He performed one solo, the evocative ''Tree Without Wind,'' by Huang Ruo. The skill to accompany sensitively, joining with and supporting the solo instrument is rare and wonderful, and Ms. Huang was lucky to have such a fine artist, to perform with her.
Beautifully dressed in a striking, formal black gown which sparkled in the light, the bassoonist stepped to the lector's microphone to introduce each of her selections. She spoke warmly and intelligently, sharing information to increase our enjoyment, but not trying to correct our entire educational history in a single evening.
I enjoyed the concert very much.
Included in the evening's program was a leaflet explaining the 2012-13 series of concerts which will be offered by JCA. Anyone buying a season ticket is also able to attend six concerts by the Warren Concert Assn., in Warren's lovely Struthers Library Theater, for no additional cost. Those purchasing before June 1 will also receive a guest ticket to bring a friend to the concert of his or her choice, during the coming season.