Hanna offered no introduction or warning before launching into his first piece, Pierre Max Dubois’s Etude No. 10, much like a surprise Beyonce album. And much like a surprise Beyonce album, it did not disappoint. Explaining Dubois’s Etude No. 11, Hanna said it reminded him of chaotically getting ready for a party that goes off without a hitch despite the rush. I watched the tendons in his forearm move along with the fast paced notes. By the time Diane Kessel joined him on stage for a duet, I was totally entranced.
“That’s a lot of notes played in a short amount of time,” he said, after finishing a particularly fast paced portion of Harrie Janssen’s “Sonata for Bassoon.” He slowed down a bit for the duet with Kessel and her flute, a light, airy piece that blended the two instruments perfectly. I found I could alternate focus on either instrument while the other complimented it perfectly. Despite the many time changes, they stayed together perfectly, glancing up now and then in an almost disbelief. They finished to a tremendous amount of applause considering the small audience.
But of course, Hanna saved the best for last. His performance of “Pimpin’” by Jacob “TV” ter Veldhuis, complete with a warning about the language, was like nothing I’ve ever seen or heard. Veldhuis uses live samplings, in this case from conversations with pimps and prostitutes, and arranges over them. “Pimpin’” was written for saxophone and it showed as the sultry, richer notes poured from Hanna’s bassoon. In comparison to his duet piece with Kessel, it was like he was playing a completely different instrument.
Hanna finished out the recital with George Fetner’s “Black Lion”, a show-stopping piece that included electronic effects and five stands to hold all the music because there “wasn’t time to turn the pages.” This piece showcased his range, pushing out the lowest and highest notes all in the same breath. Its obvious that Hanna has mastery of his instrument, and a great taste for pieces that showcase that mastery.