1995, I received a wonderful email from Las Vegas businessman Mark Trinko, who
loved contrabassoon music. He had heard my contrabassoon concerto and told me
he'd never enjoyed any music with strings until hearing this piece. (I'm not
making this up.)
organizing an international contrabassoon festival, hoping it would become an
annual summer event, possibly back-to-back with the annual IDRS convention. As a
kickoff, Mark was writing me to commission a recital piece for unaccompanied
contra that could be used for competitions.
bass clarinetist myself, and very fascinated by the Bach cello suites which
balance between vernacular dance rhythms and developed form, I was eager to
compose a similarly-conceived dance suite, based on music contemporary to my own
MISTERIOSO uses a hustle rhythm, and the notes are reminsicent of the
"Powerhouse" motif used in many of Carl Stalling's cartoon scores. It
also is a traditionally-built rounded binary form.
2. TWIST VARIATIONS uses a theme in driving quarter-notes and 12-bar blues, and
then goes quite far afield into many rhythmic and textural worlds, using the
12-bar blues as a chaconne.
3. BEAR HUG is a 12/8 slow dance, certainly inspired by the feel of Smokey
Robinson's and other ballads of that genre.
4. FUNK SCHERZO is more free-form, and true to its title.
gave the world premiere at IDRS 1997; audio excerpts of that live performance
are on the contrabassoon page of this website.
Individual movements have been used frequently for audition requirements, and
few have dared to play the complete suite in entirety. I've had the rare
pleasure of hearing the 1st movement played en masse in unison at a
A DEEP FUNK is also available for bass clarinet.
is also a sequel, Deep Funk, Pt. 2, for solo viola.