"Sueños" was commissioned by a consortium of 21 bassists from around the world, organized by Jeremy Kurtz-Harris. Tijuana-based composer/bassist Andrés Martin was asked to write a multi-movement work for double bass and piano, with whatever structure inspired him. After having a melody come to him in a dream (one that eventually became part of the first movement), Martin decided to write a five-movement suite, based on different dreams: Falling Asleep, Water, To Die, Flying, and Escape.
“EDGE is the sharp but delicate lines of a cut diamond; the sheen of sound as it slices the silence; the precision of a surgical knife. Edge is the gritty underside of the pulsing city: dangerous, vital. It is a slalom ski as it speeds downhill — barely balancing and almost, but not quite, losing control. Precarious, but exhilarating . . . EDGE was commissioned by the International Society of Bassists as the required piece of the 2003 Solo Competition.”
Bass solo from --
HAYDN: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Le Soir (Evening)
During the pandemic, the San Diego Symphony was very fortunate to have the brand new Rady Shell, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater where we could perform. While these socially-distanced performances were never ideal in terms of setup, there was something very vital about finding a way to play music together in a large ensemble, for audiences near and far.
Cellist Andrew Hayhurst and I played the San Diego premiere of Michael Oesterle's Parlour Games, a piece that was commissioned by a consortium of 20 bassists from around the world. We performed 5 of the 12 movements.
This fascinating unaccompanied piece by Hans Werner Henze was originally composed for cello. Bassist Lucas Drew made a transcription for bass that Henze personally approved, and it's a wonderful addition to the double bass repertoire.
The title of this cello/bass duo is a bit of a pun, as the piece shows the 2 instruments at some times coming together (dual), and at other times fighting against each other (duel). Andrew Hayhurst and I performed it several times, but Aucoin attended the Young Artists in Harmony concert, and I like that performance the best.
Gavin Bryars is a composer and bassist from the UK. Tre Laude Dolce is based on a 13th century song form, which was the inspiration for a number of his compositions. This work was originally written for solo cello, but Bryars created a double version as well. I was fortunate to perform this is the resonant acoustics of the Lux Art Institute (now the ICA San Diego / North) in Encinitas, CA
Art of Elan commissioned composer Kurt Stallmann to write a duo for flutist (and AofE co-founder) Demarre McGIll and me during one of their first seasons. Kurt is on the composition faculty at Rice University, where he leads the Rice Electronic Music Studio. While his music can span quite a range of complexity and styles, he took on an interesting challenge for this commission. While teaching inner-city high school students as part of a music grant, he made a set of musical constraints so they could focus their pieces. He then asked himself, "what could I do with these constraints myself?"
This improvisatory work by bassist Francois Rabbath has become a favorite solo piece for many double bassists. It is inspired by a classical Indian raga, and allows the performer to discover a tonal palette that is quite different from most "traditional" classical solo works. It was intriguing to play this in the very live acoustic of an upstairs gallery at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.
San Diego Symphony's "Lunch & Listen" virtual series features a different musician each week. In this episode, Principal Bassist Jeremy Kurtz-Harris performs two movements of David Anderson's "Four Short Pieces", chats with Executive Director Martha Gilmer about a variety of topics, and finishes with pieces by Domenico Dragonetti and Xavier Foley.
This impromptu conversation with Joel Braun at the 2019 ISB convention turned into a full podcast episode once Jason Heath showed up.
A performance of the Koussevitzky Bass Concerto from a faculty recital at Peabody BassWorks in 2012.
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