Gunnar Hahn about the Quartet of Musicians

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How the Quartet of Musicians Came to Be

In the summer of 1936, I received an offer to make gramophone recordings of six tunes, featuring myself on accordion together with three other instruments of my choice, thus forming a quartet.

Naturally, the violin was my first pick - it had been the most prominent instrument for folk music during several centuries. The clarinet with its rounded tone color was also an obvious choice, but which instrument would be best suited for base? It was to function both as a foundation for the timbres of the other instruments and as a generator of a distinct rhythm for the dance tunes.

For years, while attending orchestral concerts, I very much enjoyed listening to the bassoon, which could be either rustically playful in staccato or quite lyrical in legato. So why not try this instrument in the formation of the quartet?

For this very first recording session, I chose the largest bassoon with the deepest tone quality - the contrabassoon. I subsequently switched to the regular bassoon, which also got to participate in the interlacing of melodies.

Gunnar Hahn 1997