This is my second commission as NAC Award Composer. It was written for tonight’s soloist, Joel Quarrington, and is dedicated to him.
The title may be a bit long, but it accurately reflects the nature of the concerto process. A double bass takes centre stage as the leading solo instrument, but it also plays in various chamber settings with other instruments
listed in the title: solo strings at the opening, later with two double basses and
a conga, subsequently with xylophone, etc.
I have known Joel for many years and have become quite familiar with his virtuosity and his unique overall artistry, especially his cantilena (singing style).
Upon commission from the National Arts Centre Orchestra, I chose to write a composition highlighting these qualities, at the same time avoiding any superfluous special sound effects and technical “acrobatics”.
I decided to write a piece with which the soloist could engage the audience, show his technical abilities and, most of all, demonstrate his musicianship.
The concerto is varied in its character, and it portrays various moods, from a tranquil and lyrical lullaby, through a fury of a prestissimo, to a jazzy conclusion. The solo cadenza, which is placed in the middle of the composition, is lyrical and dramatic in turn, based on the material introduced earlier in the composition.