Sea-god Recording

Sea-god painting by Ghislaine Howard
Sea-god painting by Ghislaine Howard

"Album of the week" in The Times newspaper

No. 4 in the U.K. Specialist Classical Charts

Seagod Times review
UK classical charts July21

Released on 2nd July 2021, 'Voyage of a Sea-god' is a 2-CD set presenting a musical journey through the 20th century, with links to some of the key historic events during that exciting and turbulent period.

Sample the tracks and purchase CDs or digital downloads (FLAC or MP3) on the Hyperion 'Sea-god' webpage
(click HERE to go directly to the Hyperion 'Sea-god' page)



"It's an extensive programme, encompassing a variety of styles ... there are some real treats"
Daniel Jaffé, BBC Music Magazine

"Laurence Perkins was ideally placed to have created this anthology with 'the bassoon leading a musical journey through the 20th century' ... an engaging guide throughout, Perkins gets sterling support from a wealth of fine musicians and ensembles"
Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

"Laurence Perkins is not like any other professional bassoonist ... perhaps he is unique as an inspiring advocate of the bassoon, doing more than anyone else to promote and expose the instrument to the general public."
Roger Birnstingl (former principal bassoon, London Symphony Orchestra) Double Reed News

"Beginning in 1900 with Richard Henry Walthew and ending in 1999 with David Bedford, the intrepid musical journey undertaken by Laurence Perkins and friends celebrates the extraordinary versatility of the twentieth century bassoon ... Bax’s 1936 Threnody and Scherzo for bassoon, harp and string sextet, is a wonderfully scored imaginative work that has the makings of a concerto ... The disc ends in 1999 with the imaginative and much missed David Bedford’s solo work Dreams of Stac Pollaidh. The inspiration for this piece ... is Stac Pollaidh the mountain itself, and the Scottish pibroch, beloved of Highland bagpipers. The gentle dream-like work provides an elegant and poignant end to the programme."
Paul RW Jackson, British Music Society

"It's a really enjoyable chronological tour of the 20th century bassoon"
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review


Discover 'Voyage of a Sea-god' on this video sampler

(Click below)

Disc 1:

Walthew, Richard: Introduction and Allegro for bassoon and piano [1900] [world première recording]
Prokofiev: Sergei: Humorous Scherzo for four bassoons [1912]
Saint-Saens, Camille: Sonata for bassoon and piano, Op.168 [1921]
Bantock, Granville: Lament and Dance of the Witches from 'Macbeth’, for three bassoons [1926] [world première recording]
Bax, Sir Arnold: Threnody and Scherzo for bassoon, string sextet and harp [1936]
Hindemith, Paul: Sonata for bassoon and piano [1938]
Dutilleux, Henri: Sarabande et Cortège for bassoon and piano [1942]
Howells, Herbert: Minuet - Grace for a Fresh Egg for bassoon and piano [1945]

Disc 2:

Maconchy, Elizabeth: Concertino for bassoon and string orchestra [1952] [world première recording]
Ridout, Alan: Caliban and Ariel for solo bassoon [1974] [world première recording]
Panufnik, Andrzej: Concerto for bassoon and small orchestra (1985)
Bennett, Richard Rodney: Sonata for bassoon and piano [1991] [world première recording]
Bedford, David: Dreams of Stac Pollaidh for unaccompanied bassoon [1999] [world première recording]

Laurence Perkins (bassoon)
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Goodchild
The Carducci String Quartet, with Suzie Meszaros (viola), Michael Escreet (double bass) and Eira Lynn Jones(harp)
Michael Hancock (piano)
Catriona McDermid, Matthew Kitteringham and Amy Thompson (bassoons)

Recording producer: Andrew Keener
Sound engineer: Simon Eadon


AUDIO samples can be heard on the 'Recordings' page of this website - click HERE to go directly to that page.


Description of the project
(notes by Laurence Perkins)

 It was in the 20th century that composers finally woke up to the real qualities of the bassoon and its wonderful expressive range. The instrument’s sound, described by Sacheverell Sitwell as “like a sea-god speaking”, was used and explored as never before,  in new and highly imaginative ways. My recording project is a celebration of some of the music from that vibrant century which features the bassoon either as a soloist or in a prominent role, including major works not previously recorded commercially (indicated by an asterisk * below).

The music forms a chronological journey, starting with the late-Victorian melodic elegance of *Richard Walthew (1900), with Prokofiev adding a dark humour (1912), and Saint-Saens looking back to romantic and classical influences (1921). There’s a strong British presence, including music by Arnold Bax (1936), Herbert Howells (1945) and *Elizabeth Maconchy’s wonderfully lyrical and virtuosic Concertino (1952), while *Alan Ridout creates wonderfully evocative Shakespearean images in music inspired by ‘The Tempest’ (1975). There are  powerful expressions of anger and deep sorrow in Panufnik’s music (1985) reflecting events in Poland at that time, off-set by a gentle and highly original sound-world created by *Richard Rodney Bennett (1991). The final piece is an extraordinary 4-minute tone poem for solo bassoon by *David Bedford (1999), inspired by a Scottish mountain.

To my knowledge, a recorded anthology of this kind, presenting more than two hours of bassoon music in a compelling musical journey through an entire century, is unique. The project will go a long way towards my life ambition - better recognition and appreciation of the special musical qualities of the bassoon. 


Below are two photographs from the sessions in September 2019 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Goodchild, recording the Concerto by Andrzej Panufnik. Photographs by Clare Glenister.


A huge 'thank you' to all of you who have supported this project, both financially and in many other ways as well. It would not have happened without your help and support!

People who contributed financially towards the 'Sea-god' recording project:

Nigel Atkinson

Mike and Carolyn Bell

Catherine Berry

Michael Bishop

Marian Blaikley

Nick Bradley

Geoffrey Bridge

Jendy and Peter Bullman

Christopher Clift

June Cooper

David and Sheila Cook

David Cowdy

The Cress family

Judith David

Tim and Ceri Dornan

Michael Duffin

June Emerson

Isabel Farrell

Mavis and Len Fletcher

John Flinders

Janet Fulton

Cat (Catherine) Gallagher

Tim Gibson

Alf Gjessing

Clare Glenister

Graham and Dagmar Grafton

Mike Grindrod

Pip and David Hassell

Sarah Heald

Susie Herman

Wendy Hooson

Ghislaine Howard

Bridget Jackson

Christopher Joseph

Christine Kitteringham

Stephanie Knight

Louisa Lam

Linda and John Leggat

Martha Leigh

Chris and Maggie Manvell

Keith and Liz Marjoram

Bill and Mary Massey

Dominic McGonigal

Douglas McIntosh

Toby and Sarah Miller

Douglas G Moran

Terry Mullett

James Munro

Patrick Ozzard-Low

Marjorie Perkins

Ashley Pugh

Graeme Rudland

Hugh David Rosenbaum

Andrew Schlich

Philip Scowcroft

Jane Sebba

Paul Sharrock

Roger Shaw

Mary Stanwell

David Stern

Pete Stott

John Sullivan

Malcolm and Margaret Summers

Theresa and Raymond Tallis

Lucy and Steve Tanser

Frances Touch

Elisabeth Waterhouse

Alastair Watson and Mary Jane Platt

Rachel Whibley

John and Pam Woodward

Jane Woolfenden