Full Faith and Credit


double concerto for two bassoons
and string orchestra


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Sample Score Pages
thumbnail of FULL FAITH AND CREDIT website excerpt
17 min.
December 31, 2004
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Peter Kolkay, bassoon; San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Simon
Concert Artists Guild and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra
Surveying twelve trunks, half-filled with clothes and books belonging to me and my wife and our two young children, I wondered about the sense of dislocation we soon might feel during a year abroad in Rome. I listened to talk radio as I packed. It was August 2004, and the airwaves were rife with the sanctioning of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and San Francisco. Newly married gay couples had traveled from Maine or Idaho or Kentucky, probably, to take their vows where it was legal, and then return home. What would their unions provoke among their neighbors? Would their own towns and counties give full faith and credit to the legal unions of another jurisdiction? Radio interviews gave me a keen sense of the kinds of dislocation these couples were feeling.

In Rome, my first project was a concerto for two bassoons and string orchestra that Concert Artists Guild had commissioned for the virtuoso bassoonist on its roster, Peter Kolkay. The sense of dislocation I had contemplated before my departure had become something I wanted to explore musically. The impetus was augmented by the crude but indissoluble associations that I was making, associations of gay marriage with music for two like soloists pitted against a larger and different group of players. And then there was the consideration that the work would be premiered in the flashpoint Bay Area—the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra was a co-commissioner.

“Meltzer’s Full Faith and Credit … is song and dance, and the music for our irresistible nuptial pair — deftly realized by bassoonists Julia Lockhart and Sophie Dansereau — is by turns euphoric and lyrical (loath to be separated and loath to finish), terse and conversational, bumptious, hymn-like or romantic.”

— Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail (Canada), January 21, 2008


“Paul Hostetter, Colonial Symphony’s music director and conductor… was joined in the pre-concert lecture by Harold Meltzer to discuss the composer’s ‘Full Faith and Credit,’ an intriguing 7-part work for two bassoonists and string orchestra that very much explained its own rationale just in the listening.
“Even so, Hostetter related some images the music provoked in his imagination which, though they might have differed from Meltzer’s, didn’t prevent his leading the orchestra through a vigorous, full-rigged performance. In this, they were aided by the exuberant performing of bassoonists Peter Kolkay and Jeremy Friedland.

“And afterward, it didn’t prevent an appreciative audience from demonstrating its enthusiasm for the music, the composer, the conductor, the soloists and the orchestra.”

— Bernie Abrams, The Daily Record (New Jersey), February 21, 2008


“Harold Meltzer’s 2004 Full Faith and Credit for two bassoons and strings was inspired by the hot-button issue of same-sex marriage (the title name-checks the constitutional clause deliberately sidestepped by the Defense of Marriage Act), but any programmatic intent was subsumed under Americana-inspired stylistic costumes: more divertimento than concerto, approachable and occasionally inspired (a smear of string harmonics brought down to earth by the bassoons’ laconic interplay was particularly ear-catching). Soloists Ronald Haroutunian and Adrian Morejon were soulful and deadpan by turn, every note varnished to a high gloss.”

— Matthew Guerrieri, The Boston Globe, January 24, 2011
Performance History
  • December 31, 2004: San Francisco Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Simon, with Peter Kolkay and Rufus Olivier, bassoons, First Congregational Church, Berkeley, California
  • January 2, 2005: San Francisco Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Simon, with Peter Kolkay and Rufus Olivier, bassoons, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
  • March 26, 2006: Chamber Orchestra Kremlin conducted by Mischa Rachlevsky, with Peter Kolkay and Gretha Tuls, bassoons, Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, NY
  • April 8, 2006: Westchester Philharmonic conducted by Paul Lustig Dunkel, with Peter Kolkay and Frank Morelli, bassoons, SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center, Purchase, NY
  • April 9, 2006: Westchester Philharmonic conducted by Paul Lustig Dunkel, with Peter Kolkay and Frank Morelli, bassoons, SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center, Purchase, NY
  • January 18, 2008: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bramwell Tovey, with Julia Lockhart and Sophie Dansereau, bassoons, Roundhouse Community Centre Performance Theatre
  • February 9, 2008: Colonial Symphony conducted by Paul Hostetter, with Peter Kolkay and Jeremy Friedland, bassoons, Community Theatre, Morristown, New Jersey
  • July 22, 2008: International Double Reed Society conference orchestra conducted by Kory Katseanes, with Peter Kolkay and Lori Wiki, bassoons, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • January 22, 2011: Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose, with Ronald Haroutunian and Adrian Morejon, bassoons, Jordan Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
  • May 19, 2012: Greater Grand Forks Symphony conducted by Alexander Platt, with Peter Kolkay and Michael Wittgraf, bassoons, Empire Arts Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • February 7, 2015: Riverside Symphony conducted by George Rothman, with Marc Goldberg and Billy Hestand, bassoons, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City