Performance:

Dave Anderson's Seven Double Bass Duets

 

performed at Staunton Music Festival

August 18, 2014

Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton, VA

 

Rob Nairn and Anthony Manzo

 

video by Stewart Searle

 

 

 

 

 

About the Music

American composer Dave Anderson (b. 1962) created Seven Double Bass Duets in 1996.  The unique scoring should be the first clue that Anderson himself is a professional double bassist.  Currently with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Anderson has been a fixture on the New Orleans scene for the past 30 years. While gigging with dozens of musicians in everything from bop and jazz to funk and hard rock, he has produced an extensive body of music for more than just bass.  About his decision to compose Seven Double Bass Duets, Anderson writes:

 

Bass players are always searching for new material. As far as duets go, we have raided the Bach two-part inventions, Bartók’s violin duos, and many other sources from many musical periods. Modern composers have written some wonderful material, but bassist’s solo and chamber repertoire is still very small compared to all other string instruments . . . When writing my bass duets, I could not avoid a humoristic approach. After all, we bassists are always regarded as accompanists and solos are viewed as a “lower” art. The range of our instrument is huge and I wanted to use all of it including the use of the low C (and B!) extension and high harmonics. Both parts are intentionally equal and the melodic material is passed back and forth. 

 

The humor starts with the titles themselves, including Kibbles & Kibbitz, Blew Cheeze, and Parade of the Politically Prudent Pigs—which Anderson describes as “Jimi Hendrix and Sergei Prokofiev meet Rush Limbaugh.”

 

(c) Jason Stell, 2014

 

 

 

An artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Anthony Manzo is sought-after musician who performs regularly at such venues as Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.  In addition, Manzo is also a regular guest artist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Smithsonian Chamber Society. He is also an active performer on period instruments, with groups including The Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and Opera Lafayette in Washington, DC.  Additionally, Mr. Manzo is on faculty at the University of Maryland. He performs on a double bass made by Jerome Thibouville Lamy (1890) in Paris.

 

 

Rob Nairn was born in Toronto and grew up in Australia. He studied at the Canberra School of Music, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, and at Berlin Hochschule der Kunste, where he earned a postgraduate diploma. His career has incorporated traditional orchestral and historical performance, as well as contemporary music and jazz, and he has performed with such ensembles as the London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Florilegium, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Sinfonietta, Gruppe Neue Musik, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He previously taught at Juilliard and Penn State and is currently associate professor at the University of Melbourne Conservatory.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Content

 

VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Mauricio Kagel's Match for two cellos and percussion

In the same vein as Kurtz's theatrical Last Contrabass, Kagel's Match is part concert performance, part Dadist spectacle. Percussionist I-Jen Fang referees this imagined tennis match between cellists Michael Unterman and Jan Mueller-Szeraws.  Game on!

 

 

 

PERSPECTIVE: What Happens in Vegas...

In this Perspective, Gwen Grastorf (actor) and Erik Higgins (contrabass) talk about their 2017 performance of The Last Contrabass in Las Vegas, an intriguing mix of theater and musical bravura, by Eugene Kurtz. 

 

 

 

VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Eugene Kurtz's The Last Contrabass in Las Vegas 

Some people are deeply moved by instrumental music! In this funny and unique work, actor Gwen Grastorf partners with bassist Erik Higgins in a lively account of all that the contrabass can do. Staged at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton in 2017.

 

 

 

VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (excerpts)

Happenstance Theater actor Gwen Grastorf returned to SMF in 2018 to provide visual artistry, developed by Mark Jaster, for this performance of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. A modernist landmark composition expertly performed by soprano Megan Chartrand and festival colleagues.

 

 

 

VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Hasenohrl's Till Eulenspiegel Einmal Anders! after R. Strauss 

The otherwise unknown composer Franz Hasenöhrl made this stunning arrangement of Strauss' famous Till Eulenspiegel for chamber ensemble. Bassist Erik Higgins is joined by Antti Tikkanen (violin), Igor Begelman (clarinet), Larisa Gelman (bassoon), and Ian Zook (horn).  

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLORE OTHER PERSPECTIVES