The Concerto for Bassoon or Bass Clarinet (2005) is structured in three movements. It opens, after a brief orchestral introduction, with a very rhythmic first theme by the soloist, punctuated by chords in the strings. This is followed by a second, calmer theme, a kind of obstinate motif that gradually evolves towards greater tension. A climax follows, followed by the return of the first theme played by the orchestra, but abbreviated. This leads us to the second section of the movement, at a slower tempo. Two new themes are developed in various ways, followed by a shorter return of the first section. The atmosphere of the second movement is very lyrical. All the expressive colours of the solo instrument are exploited, often in dialogue with various soloists of the orchestra.
The third movement is based on a harmonic framework and a rhythmic ostinato, which the orchestra sets out at the beginning. A long theme is stated by the soloist on this canvas, passing through different keys until the canvas itself becomes thematic. The soloist takes up this one again, but in diminution (the rhythmic values are halved); it is a part where several soloists join the soloist, creating a kind of “Concerto Grosso” that is increasingly virtuosic. The first theme then appears to the soloist while the whole orchestra takes up the diminishing canvas. A purely orchestral interlude, also based on the first theme, leads to a cadenza of high virtuosity for the soloist. The movement ends with a brilliant return of the first part.
The world premiere of the bassoon version took place in Hamburg on July 13, 2008 as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival by Pierre Olivier Martens, dedicatee of the work, and the Sinfonietta Baltica conducted by Gerd Müller-Lorenz.
The world premiere of the version for bass clarinet took place in Poland, in Gdansk, on December 20, 2012, in a concert entirely devoted to the works of Michel Lysight, by the Chamber Orchestra of the Academy of Music of Gdansk under the direction of Sylwia Janiak with soloist Jean-Marc Fessard.
The Belgian premiere took place in Mons, on February 3, 2013, by the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie under the direction of the composer with soloist Jean-Marc Fessard.