Music: The Low Bassoon

Eighteen indispensable men got ready last week for another winter's work. They were the contrabassoonists of the eighteen big U.S. symphony orchestras. Without them, the U.S. symphonic season could not get off to a start. Though a contra-bassoonist without a symphony orchestra may be the lowest down of all musical phenomena, a symphony orchestra with out a contrabassoonist is not low enough.

Few concertgoers would know a contrabassoon if they saw one. But they might recognize a bassoon. Known in German as the Fagott, because of its resemblance to a slim bundle of sticks,...

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