Samuel Headrick


Concertante 314

Music For Eight Double Basses

This is a live recording a performance, conducted by Sam Headrick
with Edwin Barker as the DB Soloist during ALEA III's 2012 Concert Season:

          Alea III: BU Composers Conduct Their Own Works,   February 1, 2012,
                    TSAI Performance Center, Boston University, Boston, MA


YouTube version

When Theodore Antoniou asked me to write a new piece in memory of John Daverio I was humbled, moved, and honored. When I learned that I would be writing the piece for my wonderful colleague Ed Barker, I was filled with anticipation and excitement at the privilege of writing a piece for such a distinguished virtuoso. Then I learned the piece was to be for eight double basses. This gave me pause.

It was John’s dedication to teaching that finally provided me, in part, with the conceptual spark to write the piece. I would not write a composition for Double Bass Octet, but for a Master Teacher and his 7 talented students, presenting them with musical and technical challenges that double bass students might not normally have the opportunity to try. The Master Teacher is the soloist, while the 7 students are divided into a Quartet and a Trio. Loosely stated, they form a “Double Bass Orchestra,” and the Quartet is placed in a semicircle in front of the conductor where the string section of the orchestra would normally be located, while the Trio forms a second row, located where the winds or brass might be. The score itself is organized with the same “roles” in mind - Solo in the middle, Quartet below, and Trio on top.

The composition has two movements which are connected without pause. The first movement begins with a two-minute recitative-like section that is followed by the main body of the movement, a four-minute allegro. This first movement is then contrasted with a lyrical and expressive concluding movement entitled “Prayer”. The total duration of the complete composition is approximately 10 ½ to 11 minutes.

I would like to thank Mr. Barker and his students for having me write this piece for them. In doing so, they have granted me a process by which I have been able to take at least a small step towards coming to terms with the fact that our dear friend, colleague, and role model, John Daverio, is no longer physically with us.

S.H. February 2012