- for double bass and string orchestra
- 11' 10"
Double Bass Concerto in e minor was written as a showpiece for the more natural characteristics of the double bass, such as the warmth and solidity of plucked strings, the ease of harmonics, the resonance of open strings, and the extended 4-octave range. The double bass is a member of the viol family, with an inherently more delicate quality to its timbre than its modern orchestral cousins the violin, viola, and ‘cello. As a solo instrument, it offers an alternate view of virtuoso string playing; a low register dark with rich, complex broodings, a middle range filled with anticipation and veiled longing, and an unusually graceful and poetic high compass bereft of throaty tension or shrillness.
This concerto is written in the form of a rhapsody or capriccio, in one movement with an extended, freer exposition. Under alert tremolo, the bass opens with an impulsive statement that climbs three times from its rock-bottom open E string to its highest harmonics. The strings answer with a quiet, gentle elegy, soon transformed by the bass into a more yearning episode that ends on an unsettled note. A bravura melody leaps forth from this cloud, a folk-dance tune that gambols between soloist and orchestra, leading the music through restless changes of key and expectation. A heartfelt strain emerges, eventually guiding the music to a floating, dreamy musical landscape. Over pulsing strings, the bass ponders the themes of the concerto in tender detail throughout its range of pitch and color, suggesting a haven of peaceful beauty. The previous mood springs back to life in a boisterous answer, leading to a cadenza in which the bass’s ruminations are gruffer and more pointed than before. In the final coda the strings return to their elegy, then the bass takes the orchestra back to the beginning, reversing the sprawling gestures to drift down from the heights, fading to silence on a lingering octave E.
- Commissioned by Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra
- for Maggie Simpson
|07 May 2005||
Performed by the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, directed by Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca with Maggie Simpson (double bass) at the First United Methodist Church, in Santa Rosa, California, USA
|04 May 2005||
Previewed performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, directed by Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca with Maggie Simpson (double bass) at the Spring Lake Village Hall, in Santa Rosa, California, USA