Magazine article Strings

Arizona Bass Players Festival

Magazine article Strings

Arizona Bass Players Festival

Article excerpt

After a decade-long hiatus, University of Arizona bass professor Patrick Neher has revived a project that occupied him in the early 1990s; from October 6 to 9, he presented what is now called the Arizona Bass Players Festival and Workshop, in Tucson, offering workshops and master classes with and performances by himself, François Rabbath, John clayton, Brian Bromberg, and Kristin Korb.

Neher launched it all with two pieces by Luigi Negri (1837-1891): Capriccio on Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore, and Reminiscence of Rossini's Stabat Mater. The music itself-Neher is bringing out five of Negri's pieces under his ISG Publications imprint-is typical of Italian virtuoso/composers of the period (think Bottesini), alternating Italianate lyricism with shameless virtuosic display, including several long passages of harmonics. At the beginning of the concert, Neher's notes were not always dead-center, but he seemed most accurate in the tough passages that sent his left hand hurtling up and down the fingerboard.

Neher's own, engaging Antiphonal Dance for eight double-basses proceeded with strong, syncopated rhythms that propelled the music back and forth across the stage. This was, above all, a tricky act of timing and coordination, accomplished with confidence by Neher and his students.

The concert also included Daryl Runswick's parodie Suite and Low for bass quartet, played with aplomb, and another Neher work, Juste Melodie et Plus, a largely improvised and theatrical work for bass and live electronics. …

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