BARRY GUY SOLO BASS RECITAL

A selection of various programmes: depending on the Festival or venue, the solo recital can include theatrical pieces in costume as well as pieces which require special lighting effects. There can be more or less composed pieces or improvisations to suit the style of the Festival or concert series.

Barry Guy Solo

A fully improvised concert utilises extended techniques and all the glorious sonorities available to the double bass. It will also include pieces from the solo albums "Fizzles" and "Symmetries".

Barry Guy Solo Portrait (short solo recital)

Jakob Druckman

VALENTINE (9')

Barry Guy

IMPROVISATION (c. 7')

 

STATEMENTS II

Iannis Xenakis

THERAPS (10')

Barry Guy

FIZZLES (10')

Ian Dearden and Javier Alvarez

EDGEDANCE (tape 4'05")


PROGRAMME NOTES:

JAKOB DRUCKMAN (b 1928)

Valentine

Written in 1969, Valentine represents an important moment in the development of the bass as a percussion instrument and has established itself in the repertoire of players following contemporary manifestations. The integration of percussive passages, singing, theatre and conventional bass sounds is an object lesson in the use of an expanded vocabulary. Aware of the theatrical potential, the Joffrey City Ballet choreographed a piece with the bassist integrated within the love games of two dancers. In a concert performance the bassist and bass arrive at their own conclusions to the games.

Jakob Druckman was born in Philadelphia, USA, and studied composition at the Julliard School of Music and the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris with Aaron Copland. In addition to writing instrumental music he also writes for the theatre, film and dance. Since 1967 he has been working at the Electronic Music Centre at Columbia-Princeton University.

BARRY GUY

STATEMENTS II

Statements II was written for the 1972 English Bach Festival and is dedicated to the Festivals founder Lina Lalandi. The work sets out to examine some of the more unusual sonorities available on the instrument in which amplification plays a major role in bringing to the fore the small sidebands of sound that are often not heard under normal acoustic conditions. The amplitude is controlled by the player via a foot pedal, which with its selective use can create an interplay with the acoustic sound to give the illusion of more than one instrument playing. The piece is evolutionary in character in the sense that from the beginning, each main timbral change undergoes transformations that lead it into the next main area. Looking at Statements II from a visual standpoint, I liken it to a piece of sculpture that the viewer perceives from every angle – each perspective different and each plane unique, but nevertheless part of the same object.

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922–2001)

Theraps

Theraps is based upon Xenakis' "Random Walk, Brownian Movement" theory. Barry Guy writes in the preface of the published score: "I have found that this piece draws one into the very depths of the instrument on both mental and physical commitment more so than any other solo work that I have performed. Withdrawal to the ethereal harmonics is in many ways a painful process but ultimately rewarding. Here lies a possible paradox for the physical limitations of the human frame can only but cope with the intensity of the music, leaving an area of instability in the ongoing music. Is this the intention? If so, how does the performer equate this with the thoroughness in the compositional workings, for on paper it is all possible, but when overbalanced in favour of the final result, a new philosophy has to be reckoned with. To enter fully into Theraps the performer must take the plunge, for Xenakis takes the player to the edge ... and beyond".

Iannis Xenakis was born in Athens. He studied with 9 Messiaen and worked on architectural projects with Le Corbusier. He taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, from 1967–72 and founded the Centre for Musical Mathematics and Automation in Paris.

BARRY GUY

Fizzles

A set of short meditations on special double bass sonorities. The focus is set for listening closely to unusual and surprising areas of music from the double bass.

IAN DEARDEN, JAVIER ALVAREZ

Edgedance

In August 1987, Javier Alvarez and I were invited by Brian Hodgson to compose a short piece at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The brief was to make a short piece using only the sounds in Elizabeth Parker's studio (she was on holiday at the time !), and all within a period of three weeks. Edgedance is the result of that collaboration and its title refers to its lively yet ominous character.

Solo Bass Recital
(full length programme with interval)

Jakob Druckman

VALENTINE (9')

Ian Dearden and
Javier Alvarez

PANAMA FILES (tape 3'44")

Bernard Rands

MEMO I (9')

Barry Guy

5 PIECES (10')

 

HILIBILI MEETS...THE BRUSH (10')

INTERVAL

John Anthony Celona

 

VOICINGS (10')

Barry Guy

 

STILL (8')

Ian Dearden and
Javier Alvarez

EDGEDANCE (tape 4'05")

Hubert Stuppner

 

AUSDRUCKE: RONDO FOR A CLOWN (15')


PROGRAMME NOTES:

IAN DEARDEN (b 1961) JAVIER ALVAREZ (b 1956)

Panama Files (solo tape)

The Panama Files electro acoustic fanfare for tape is the collaborative work of Ian Dearden and Javier Alvarez. The piece, which is 4 minutes long, was originally conceived as the soundtrack for an experimental video shot in the equatorial jungle of Panama.

In brief, the work explores rhythms found in the African-influenced music of Panama (the "tamborito" style) using as sound sources a log drum, a "shekere" (a gourd covered with a net of beads), crystal glasses (hit and rubbed) and sounds obtained by clicking fingers. These "concrete" sources were then processed and transformed using both analogue techniques in the studio and digitally using a Fairlight Computer. The work was composed and mixed at the University in London in the latter part of 1985.

As one of the leading musicians involved with computers and new electronic music technology Ian Dearden works as a composer, performer and teacher. His score Orfeo helped win for London Contemporary Dance Theatre a prestigious Olivier Award for the "Most Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 1989" and he is currently working on a new dance piece to be premiered in Denmark later this year. He regularly teaches composition at Dartington International Summer Music School and is a Music Tutor at Hatfield Polytechnic.

Javier Alvarez has lived in the UK since 1982 and devotes his time to composition, performance and research. He is also active as an animateur, having taught composition and music technology at the Royal College of Music and at the Guildhall School of Music in London. At present he is working on Mambo, an opera which combines the singers, instrumentalists and computers, to be premiered at the 1993 Mexico City Festival.

BERNARD RANDS (b 1934)

Memo I

Memo I was written in 1972 and in a sense acknowledged Bernard's interest in my playing in Jazz and the theatrical qualities emanating from the "performance". He has written a score that enables the player to respond in a creative way whilst retaining the parameters that designate the piece as the composer's music. This collaboration allows the music to reflect the spontaneous quality desired by both participants.

Bernard Rands studied with Dallapiccola, Berio and Bruno Maderna and has established himself as a major figure among his generation of composers. Since emigrating to the United States in 1975, Bernard has been honoured by major awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, B.M.I., The Fromm Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Koussevitzky Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Rands' work Canti del Sole was awarded the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He has currently commissions from major orchestras, ensembles and soloists on both both sides of the Atlantic.

BARRY GUY (b 1947)

5 pieces

A set of short meditations on special double bass sonorities. The focus is set for listening closely to unusual and surprising areas of music from the double bass.

Hilibili meets...the brush

A lopsided country and western tune meets head-on with an animated brush.

JOHN ANTHONY CELONA

Voicings

"Voicings (1977) for solo contrabass combines the bassist's voice with extended performance techniques. The voice is used to filter, colour and reinforce the sounds made by the bass, especially bow noise. The work is inspired by the Sequenzas for solo instruments by Luciano Berio, Inside for bass by the late American composer Kenneth Gaburo, and the improvised playing of my long-time friend Joe Halpern. It is also a variation/transcription of my Gradients (1972) for solo trombone which was a composition in breath and extended playing techniques. I am deeply indebted to Barry Guy for this performance for this represents the first time I have heard the piece publicly. Barry has performed in Europe, most notably at the Zagreb Music Theatre Festival over ten years ago."

John Celona's music is noted for its spatial imaging, timbral orchestration, texture/density, real-time computer music performance/composition, emotion and eclecticism which includes new music, avant-garde jazz, popular and World musics. Celona was born in San Francisco in 1947, and studied music and composition at San Francisco State University, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University and University of California, San Diego. His teachers include Henry Onderdonk, Iannis Xenakis, and Kenneth Gaburo. He is presently head of the music composition programme at the University of Victoria.

BARRY GUY (b 1947)

Still

After the energetic pieces in this recital, I have entered my own composition that portrays two further aspects of the double bass. Not known for its melodic qualities in pizzicato (except for certain splendid Jazz players, i.e. Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock, Eddie Gomez) here is an opportunity to hear the instruments resonance in a ballad setting that focuses upon the legato line and sustain possibilities. The piece extends the instrument by using timpani beaters placed between the strings to act as oscillators ("Rattlers") which almost take on a momentum of their own whilst new melodies emerge.

IAN DEARDEN, JAVIER ALVAREZ

Edgedance

In August 1987, Javier Alvarez and I were invited by Brian Hodgson to compose a short piece at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The brief was to make a short piece using only the sounds in Elizabeth Parker's studio (she was on holiday at the time!), and all within a period of three weeks. Edgedance is the result of that collaboration and its title refers to its lively yet ominous character.

HUBERT STUPPNER (b 1944)

Ausdrucke: Rondo for a Clown

"constant repetition ... Artistes, tamers, entertainers of the highest class, merciless, always the same exercises you know the kind, one-two, one-two, one-two ..."

Thomas Bernhard: Die Macht der Gewohnheit

Hubert Stuppner studied piano and composition at the Bolzano Conservatory and History of Literature in Padua. He attended summer courses in new music at Darmstadt and collaborated with the "Instituto Musicale Canneti" where he worked on the analyses of 20th century music. In addition to composing, he writes about music and conducts experiments in the field of music therapy. He teaches at the Conservatory of Bolzano where he has been Director of the Festival Contemporary Music for five years.

Barry Guy is an innovative double bass player and composer whose creative diversity in the fields of Jazz improvisation, solo recitals, chamber and orchestral performance is the outcome both of an unusually varied training and a zest for experimentation, underpinned by a dedication to the double bass and the ideal of musical communication.

He is founder and Artistic Director of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra for which he has written several extended works with recordings of the following: Ode (Incus 1972 and re-released on Intakt 1996), Stringer (FMP 1980), Polyhymnia on ZURICH CONCERTS (Intakt 1988), Harmos (Intakt 1989), Double Trouble (Intakt 1990), Theoria (Intakt 1992) with the Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer as soloist, Portraits (Intakt 1994) and Three Pieces for Orchestra (Intakt 1997).

His concert works have been widely performed and his skilful and inventive writing has resulted in an exceptional series of compositions : Flagwalk (1983), The Eye of Silence (1988), Look Up! (1990), After the Rain (1992), Bird Gong Game (1992), Fallingwater (1996) and Redshift (1998).

Look Up! was honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber-Scale Composition 1991–1992. Guy's compositions usually reflect a personal liaison with musicians and ensembles he writes for. As such, the commissions arrive from chamber orchestras, chamber groups and soloists interested in contemporary musical performance with a special commitment to communicate with the audience. Guy's works therefore have a sense of freshness without recourse to ideological excesses or scores that baffle players to the extent that performing becomes a trial.

The scores however are virtuosic and often present innovative sonorities and extended instrumental techniques and as a performer himself he is ideally placed to assess these possibilities.

Barry's Programme Examples

Barry Guy continues to give solo recitals throughout Europe and the USA as well as performing with Evan Parker/Paul Lytton Trio, in Duos with pianists Irene Schweizer and Paul Plimley in Trio with Marilyn Crispell and Gerry Hemingway and with Bill Dixon's quartet. Recently he has been appearing with the American pianist Cecil Taylor and the Californian based group ROOM with Larry Ochs.

1991 saw the foundation of Guy's sextet ELSIE JO with Evan Parker, Irène Schweizer, Barre Phillips, Conrad Bauer and Paul Lytton.

Composing commissions at present are for the BT Ensemble (Glasgow), Stefan Scodanibbio (Italy), Conrad Steinmann (Switzerland).

Guy has recorded over 80 albums with various Jazz formations. Amongst them are: Arcus, a duo with Barre Phillips, Elsie Jo (Barry Guy, Irène Schweizer, Evan Parker, Connie Bauer, Barre Phillips, Paul Lytton) on the MAYA label, Theoria (London Jazz Composers Orchestra with Irène Schweizer), Portraits (London Jazz Composers Orchestra) on INTAKT, Fizzles (Barry Guy solo), Imaginary Values with Evan Parker and Paul Lytton, Witch Gong Game II/10 with the NOW Orchestra (Vancouver) on MAYA, Vade Mecum with Bill Dixon, William Parker, Tony Oxley, ISKRA 1903 with Paul Rutherford, Phil Wachsmann, Obliquities with Evan Parker, Cascades with Marilyn Crispell and Gerry Hemingway and You forget to answer with Mats Gustafsson and Raymond Strid and Three Pieces for Orchestra (London Jazz Composers Orchestra) on Intakt.

1993 saw the release of After the Rain with the City of London Sinfonia conducted by Richard Hickox, on the NMC label and in 1996 the City of London Sinfonia premiered his major composition Fallingwater.

Latest recordings include a trio CD Odyssey with Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Paul Lytton (percussion), a duo album with the Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and also a CD with the Canadian pianist Paul Plimley. ECM released a CD with Barry Guy's compositions Ceremony (violin and tape) and Celebration (solo violin) amongst others. His new big band BGNO (Barry Guy New Orchestra) is documented on Intakt with the CD Inscape-Tableaux which won the prestigious French "CHOC 2001" award.