Dementia in A (2003)

Dementia in A for double bass and piano

My friend Melissa Straus was readying her final doctoral recital and happened to complain one day that most of what she was playing consisted of arrangements and transcriptions of music originally intended for cello. I found that GROSSLY unfair, considering her talent and ability, and suggested she round out the performance with a brand-new work. She was delighted, and we spent a few happy hours investigating all the idiosyncratic things the bass was capable of. She particularly wanted something that wasn't just traditionally melodic; I believe her words were "I want something that ROCKS!" I tried to create a piece that incorporated all of the strange sounds she played for me; her favorite was something she called "seagulls," achieved by bowing harmonic glissandi down the neck which resulted in a descending "caw, caw, caw" sound that, son of a gun, sounded like seagulls! I gave her lots of urgent 16ths, interspersed with an angry melody that sounded very psychotic to my ears; putting the piece "in A" is then a musical joke, because while the melody is centered around the pitch "A", nothing that is demented could possibly hold together in a single key area.

(Available from the composer)