“This historic work was commissioned by Tanglewood for 7 basses, and has already had several wonderful performances. Six of my students join me for this performance, accompanied by a multi-media display. Next year, the work will be expanded by the composer and choreographed by my colleague Bill deYoung.” Diana Gannett
With: Betsy Soukup, Chris Livesay, Aaron Johnson, Lauren Rodewald, Gillian Markwick, Cody Takacs and Zoe Kumagai
Conducted by Matti Kovler
Matti Kovler’s program notes:
In 2004, I visited the University of Michigan to attend the graduation recital of my friend, Ron Merhavi. This event, entitled ‘The Lyric Bass,’ was a turning point in my perception of the double bass. Ron’s imaginative playing showcased the potential of the instrument in a true “solo” sense of the word. When I commented on this to Ron, he humbly pointed in the direction of his teacher: Diana Gannett.
Nine years passed, and the surprising commission from Tanglewood gave me the opportunity to address the solo potential of the bass (seven times over!) in my own work. Over Skype, the illuminating remarks of a friend and teacher, Israeli double bass guru Michael Klinghoffer enabled me to realize what seemed nearly impossible at first (particularly with regard to Italian fingering). This concert, with Diana and her students performing, and Michael in the audience, feels very much like closing a circle.
The title of this work, alluding to Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, refers to an illusion – wanting to obtain something which is beyond reach. The piece is dedicated to the memory of my uncle, Misha Rivlin, who passed away prematurely while I was working on it. The ending Coda and the complete transformation of the soloist that occurs towards the end, have been influenced by this loss.