Photo courtesy of the San Francisco-Munich Duo
Multi-faceted music. The San Francisco-Munich duo performs at The Merc Playhouse on Saturday (Sept. 9) at 7 p.m.

By Marcy Stamper

Local audiences have a rare opportunity to hear the resonant blend of cello and bassoon in music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and others, from baroque dances through up-tempo ragtime in a concert on Saturday (Sept. 9) at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp.

The San Francisco–Munich Duo is based in Germany, where Friedrich Edelmann was the principal bassoonist for the Munich Philharmonic for 27 years. Rebecca Rust started playing cello at age 5 in California, winning major competitions when she was still a teenager.

The duo’s approach to music has been described as “exploratory and frequently adventurous” and “strikingly full and balanced.”

Some of their repertoire has been arranged for the instruments, but there are other selections originally composed for cello and bassoon, including a lovely duo that Mozart wrote for a bassoonist he met in Munich.

The duo will also perform a Beethoven duet originally written for clarinet and bassoon. Beethoven was an incredibly optimistic personality in his early years before he became deaf, and the duet showcases that aspect of his personality, said Edelmann.

The concert also features a lively dance by Dutch baroque composer Willem de Fesch and arrangements of rhythmically syncopated ragtime by the American composer Arthur Frackenpohl.

Rust and Edelmann met composer Max Stern in Israel when they performed at the residence of the Japanese ambassador there. Stern wrote “Songs of Ascents” for them, a collection of four pieces that convey the joy of the ancient Israelites ascending Mount Zion to pray. “You can hear the call to march, the walking up the mountain,” said Edelmann.

There will also be a celebratory encore by Rossini.

The husband-wife pair have played together for more than three decades, performing in Europe, Asia and the United States, on the concert stage and for radio and TV productions, including such honors as playing for the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the Imperial Palace.

Edelmann and Rust promise a friendly, informal atmosphere, where they share stories and anecdotes about the music and invite questions after the concert.

The concert is at 7 p.m. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $20.