Thursday, June 15, 2006

Desenne Bass Concerto premiered by Ruiz

Last weekend in New York, a new bass concerto by Paul Desenne was premiered. The soloist was Edicson Ruiz (shown here), with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas under Alondra de la Parra. A New York Times review praised Ruiz for his "easy fluidity and a relative generosity of tone." The critic pointed out that the piece required amplification - in the world of bass concerti though, that's hardly a critique, since I don't know any that really projects clearly as orchestrated. You can read the review online (until Saturday): "A Conductor's Do-It-Yourself Project: Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas."

Not having heard the piece yet myself, I can only guess at its quality based on the review and Mr. Desenne's excellent website. I was intrigued though to hear Edicson Ruiz and Alondra de la Parra in a live radio interview on WNYC's Soundcheck, broadcast before last week's concert. Ruiz talks about the state of music education in Venezuela (apparently quite good) and his own precocious success: he joined the Berlin Philharmonic at age 17 and remains the youngest member at 21. He also played a short virtuosic piece by Bottesini, variations on a theme from "Carnival in Venice." He stumbled a bit in the live performance, with a little memory slip or two and some odd thunking sounds. Still, he plays with great character and style (and modesty: he apologizes for his mistakes at the end of the interview). I'm sure that he'll be heard again frequently, and hopefully the Desenne concerto will as well.

1 comment:

Joe Lewis said...

I've always been intrigued by the problem of orchestrating with and around the double bass. It's hard to get the right natural balance and really bring out the bass where it needs to be.

One of my favorite bass concertos, the Tubin one, really goes for the full orchestration with brass and everything. There's no way a bass would be heard over that ensemble without amplification. For pieces like that, it's a given that we have to use something to get the volume out.