Blow the Wind Southerly
A worldwide anthem for a better future
A new single, now available as an MP3 digital download.
Click one of the buttons below to purchase and download - price is typically £1 or less!
Click on the 'Mobile downloads' button if using a mobile phone.
After one of the worst years in living memory for all of us, everywhere in the world, I have reimagined Blow the Wind Southerly as a worldwide anthem for a better future - a positive, uplifting musical message of hope and optimism as we approach the new year.
This well-known English seafaring folk melody is from Northumberland in the north-east of England (the photo is sunrise as seen from the Northumbrian coast). The sea is, of course, the source of so much inspiration for so many people, which led me to create a special ‘soundscape’ of the winds and sea-birds, taken from my own location recordings made on the Northumbrian coast. The arrangement is also my own - it is, quite deliberately, a ‘wash’ of harmonies, creating an evocative musical watercolour with a calm, somewhat misty quality which seems to blend perfectly with this beautifully-shaped melody and the sea sounds.
One of my main concerns at the moment is a serious threat to music education in the UK, a situation made much worse by the pandemic. It has also been a disastrous year for amateur musicians - especially for wind and brass players. By purchasing and downloading an MP3 of 'Blow the Wind Southerly' (for about half the price of a cup of coffee), you will help to fund my work in supporting young players and amateur music-making. Thank you!
Sample Blow the Wind Southerly on the YouTube video below (click the panel)
Other worldwide digital distributors for this single are 7 Digital / IMusica / KDigital / InProdicon / KKBox / Kuack Music / Line Music / MediaNet / NetEase Music / Tencent music / Napster / Qobuz /Yandex Music (some of these distributors may not yet have this single in their system - response and release dates can vary).
Price: £4.75 including postage and packing
Blow the Wind Southerly is also available as a limited-edition audio CD, and can be purchased directly from this website. This is an 'EP' - 29 minutes of music, with four varied tracks exploring the astonishing musical versatility of the bassoon.
 Blow the Wind Southerly
 The Delights of Solitude (Two Arias by Corrette)
 Bach Chaconne - Laurence Perkins and Anthea Wood
Chacontango is a tribute to Astor Piazzolla, but also inspired by baroque music - this is written for a six-part bassoon ensemble, heard here in a multitrack recording. 'The Delights of Solitude' was recorded in French woodland - two arias by Michel Corrette, set to the night-time sound of tawny owl and crickets, and the morning sound of birdsong and a chapel bell. Chaconne is one of J.S. Bach's greatest masterpieces - originally for solo violin, this transcription for two bassoons is very faithful to Bach's original, creating a stunning and quite unique sound world.
Like the single, this audio CD is being sold to help fund continued education work for young musicians, and participatory events for amateur musicians (live, where possible, but also on-line). These are being sold directly rather than through a third party, for obvious financial reasons. The turnaround cannot be as fast as the well-known on-line vendors, but rest assured that your CD will be sent to you as quickly as possible, via Royal Mail First Class, or airmail if overseas (no track-and-trace on these services).
There are only a limited number of these, and a second pressing is unlikely, so do please order now if you would like a CD!
CD price: £4.75 including postage and packing
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Please allow 14 days for delivery (usually quicker).
Please note: this PayPal facility is only for ordering the CD. If you wish to purchase and download the single as an MP3, please click the Amazon or Apple iTunes links or buttons above.
Laurence's first recording for Hyperion was 'L'aprés-midi d'un Dinosaur' - this was the first recital album of music for bassoon and piano to be released in the U.K., and became a classic in the woodwind repertoire.
His next Hyperion recording was Bassoon Concertos - Mozart, Weber, Michael Haydn and Stamitz, with Manchester Camerata and Douglas Boyd. The Mozart Concerto was a top choice on BBC Radio 3 'Record Review' programme in the 'Building a Library' section. Shortly after this, he recorded 'The Playful Pachyderm' - shorter works in lighter vein with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp.
In Summer 2018, Laurence was a soloist on a recording of the Richard Strauss Duet-Concertino (with Sarah Watts and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards), plus trios by Beethoven and Glinka (with pianist Martin Roscoe). This recording, entitled 'The Princess and the Bear' reached No. 4 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts in August 2018.
Laurence's latest recording project for Hyperion is an ambitious 2-CD set, 'Voyage of a Sea-god' - a journey through 100 years of bassoon music in the 20th century, including world première recordings of works by Elizabeth Maconchy (Concertino), Richard Rodney Bennett (Sonata), David Bedford ('Dreams of Stac Pollaidh'), Alan Ridout ('Caliban and Ariel') and music by Granville Bantock written for a 1926 production of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. This is scheduled for release in late Spring 2021.
Live Wood Music is a recent creation by Laurence. It is an outlet both for independently-produced recordings of a wide range of repertoire, and for the promotion of live concert performances in the post-pandemic era. The first LWM production is a limited-edition CD (an 'EP' - 30 minutes duration) featuring Laurence's new single 'Blow the Wind Southerly' plus three other tracks recorded in there last five years.
No. 4 in the Specialist Classical Charts (August 2018)
Richard Strauss: Duet-Concertino for clarinet, bassoon and orchestra
Beethoven: Trio Op.38 for clarinet, bassoon and piano
Glinka: Trio Pathétique for clarinet, bassoon and piano
Sarah Watts (clarinet)
Laurence Perkins (bassoon)
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Sian Edwards (Strauss)
Martin Roscoe (piano - Beethoven and Glinka)
CD purchase or MP3 (or FLAC) downloads from Hyperion - click this link.
The Duet-Concertino by Richard Strauss is a musical story of a princess (clarinet, played by Sarah Watts) and a bear (bassoon, played by Laurence Perkins), with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards. Martin Roscoe is the pianist in trios by Beethoven (the composer's own version of his Septet) and Glinka.
“The Duet-Concertino … is beautifully performed here, and beautifully explained by Perkins in the booklet ”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times
“… Perkins responds with a gruffness that gradually broadens into deeply felt lyricism.… it’s an engaging disc, and very enjoyable”
Tim Ashley, Gramophone magazine
“… a beauty and the beast tale in which a princess, represented by Sarah Watts’ beautifully lyrical clarinet, dances with a bear – Laurence Perkins’s balletic bassoon… These two fine players are joined by the pianist Martin Roscoe for sparkling performances of Beethoven’s Trio in E flat, Op 38 and Glinka’s Trio Pathétique in D minor.”
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer
Strauss: “Don’t overlook this gem of a recording … the solo performances are first-rate … Sarah Watts and Laurence Perkins play superbly”
Glinka: “The Trio … is a lovely piece, and when performed as sensitively as it is here, a very rewarding one. Both Perkins and Watts are technically assured, but, more importantly, characterful players”
Beethoven: “… this delightful performance … even the more dramatic moments such as the opening of the finale given a tongue-in-cheek flavour thanks to the bassoon.”
Strauss / Beethoven / Glinka quotes from MusicWeb International reviews
Three excerpts from Richard Strauss: Duet-Concertino
Four excerpts from Glinka: Trio Pathétique
Six excerpts from Beethoven: Trio Op.38
These excerpts are reproduced by kind permission of Hyperion Records Ltd.
Mozart: Concerto in B flat, K.191
Weber: Concerto in F major, Op.75
Carl Stamitz: Concerto in F
Michael Haydn: Concertino
Weber: Andante and Hungarian Rondo, Op.35
with Manchester Camerata, conducted by Douglas Boyd
“... a most alluring sound, especially singing above muted strings in the Andante.”
BBC Music Magazine
“Perkins brings out the fun in much of the inspiration as well as the lyrical beauty.”
“... a comparably winning performance”
Mozart: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in B flat, K.191 (excerpts from all three movements)
Weber: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in F, Op.75 (Excerpts from all three movements)
Michael Haydn: Concertino for bassoon and Orchestra in B flat
Carl Stamitz: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in F (excerpts from all three movements)
Laurence Perkins with conductor Douglas Boyd during the Hyperion recording sessions for 'Bassoon Concertos'
Classical miniatures, folk melodies and 'fun' pieces
including Romance (Elgar), English Folksongs (Vaughan-Williams), Allegro Spiritoso (Senaillé), ‘Pièce en forme de Habañera’ (Ravel) ‘Mist-Covered Mountains’ (trad. Scottish) Allegro Spiritoso (Senaillè), Lucy Long (Godfrey), Funeral March of a Marionette (Gounod).
with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp
“The musical fare on offer here is a joy from start to finish ... the bassoon is transformed into a soothing and emphatic entertainer ... Perkins is a consummate and stylish advocate of the music.”
David Mellor, Mail on Sunday
Gilbert Vinter: 'The Playful Pachyderm' (orchestrated by Laurence Perkins)
Vaughan-Williams: Studies in English Folk Song (orchestrated by Robert Stanton)
Ravel: Pièce en forme de Habañera (orchestrated by Arthur Hoérée)
Sir Edward Elgar: Romance, Op.62
Walking Tune (Gånglåt fran Äppelbo - A Serenade for Susan) (traditional Swedish folk tune, arr. Laurence Perkins)
'Mist-Covered Mountains' (traditional Scottish, arr. Laurence Perkins) with Catriona McKay (clarsach)
Julius Fučik: 'Der alte Brummbär' ('The Old Grumbler' - Polka, Op.210, orchestrated by Laurence Perkins)
Quenton Ashlyn: 'The Bassoon' (orchestrated by Laurence Perkins), with Richard Suart (baritone)
The programme includes:
Saint-Saëns: Sonata in G, Op.168
William Hurlstone: Sonata in F
Pierné: Solo de Concert
Elgar: Romance (première recording of the composer's own piano version)
William Hurlstone: Sonata for bassoon and piano (world première recording)
Gabriel Pierné: Solo de Concert
Jacques Ibert: Carignane
Leonard Bernstein: Four songs from 'West Side Story'
i. Maria ii. Tonight iii.Somewhere iv. Something's Coming
Released in the month of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, this digital release celebrates some of his best-known music - and with a special link as well! For this recording of four songs from West Side Story (made in April 2018), Laurence teamed up with pianist Yoshiko Endo who played a Baldwin grand piano that once belonged to Bernstein. Its warm but clear sound is perfectly suited to this music. The wonderfully vocal qualities of the bassoon’s sound is eminently suitable to this great music in the excellent performing edition by David J Elliot (published by Boosey and Hawkes, recorded here with the permission of the copyright owners).