Sunday morning music

Let’s have a classical interlude once more.  I don’t know whether many of my readers are familiar with the basset horn.  It’s a member of the clarinet family, but in a lower range, and has some similarity to the later saxophone.  Early models can look rather strange and primitive, like this one.

A number of classical composers wrote music for the basset horn, including Mozart, Stamitz, Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss.  Here’s Graham Evans with the Orchestra Corda Spiritus, conducted by Stephen Wu, playing the Basset Horn Concerto in F by Alessandro Rolla.  You’ll note that Mr. Evans’ instrument is rather more modern than the one shown above!

I like the basset horn.  It’s an interesting variation on the higher-pitched clarinet.  You’ll find a number of pieces for it on YouTube.



  1. We called it a bass clarinet when I was plying in my high school band. HAd two of them in the woodwind section IIRC. More mellow tone then the saxophone.

  2. Interesting! Have you ever heard a baryton played? My wife and I had that privilege at an unsdvertised concert in a musical instrument museum some 30 years ago.

  3. Well, I suppose one could play the Basset hound . . . it all depends on how hard one pulls its ears or twists its tail!


  4. I read that the basset horn was developed as an instrument with the same range as the human voice. Probably inspired by the woodwind section trying to drown out the Wagnerian Sopranos.

  5. The late Karl Haas on his nationally syndicated classical music show "Adventures In Good Music" ("Hello everyone!) did features on the clarinet family more than once, which included both the bass clarinet and the basset horn. Used to listen to his show on Armed Forces Radio.

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