When bassist Nicholas Walker first approached me about writing a bass concerto for him, I became concerned. How could I get such a low instrument to project in the orchestral context? How could this instrument, whose strings are so long and relatively slow to speak, generate the enormous musical energy that an entire concerto requires?
Then, of course, I thought about Nicholas' special approach to the instrument and his excitement about its possibilities. What resulted was a piece that I hope matches his unique musical sensibility while also exploring his boundless technique. During this journey, the bass became for me truly a unique voice.
The movement titles reflect this. They are adapted, respectively, from three of my favorite poems: "Song of Myself #25" by Walt Whitman; "Holy Spirit" by Hildegard von Bingen; and " Sailing to Byzantium" by W. B. Yeats