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Pantomime for double bass and piano

Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)

Peter Laul

Peter Laul

Composer
Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Composition Year
1966
Artists
Peter Laul [piano], Niek de Groot [double bass]

Programme Note Writer:
© Kerry Smith

In 1959, Sofia Gubaidulina met Dmitri Shostakovich for a lesson, to play for him and to absorb his wisdom. He advised her to continue along her incorrect path, words that would resonate with her for the duration of her career. Gubaidulina’s adoption of microtonality, traditional folk music, and religious mysticism in her work ultimately did antagonize the Soviet government, as Shostakovich predicted, and as a result she was reprimanded and blacklisted for writing ‘irresponsible’ music.                                                                                 

A few years after this fateful meeting, in 1966, Pantomime for double bass and piano was written. Although this piece is nearly twenty years before Gubaidulina first uses the Fibonacci Sequence to structure her work, one can see that she is experimenting with form through small phrases with large expression. In the opening section, glissando and tremolo techniques pepper each phrase and a distinctive gesture with the bow ends each musical segment. A new section begins as the piano’s line is taken over by a circular staccato pattern, convincing the bass to join in with agitated Bartok pizzicato and ricochet.  In this early work, one can still hear influences of Anton Webern and even hints of her brief mentor, Shostakovich.

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Pantomime for double bass and piano

Composer: Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Performance date: Thursday 2nd July 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Work Title Pantomime for double bass and piano
Composition Year 1966
Artist(s) Peter Laul [piano], Niek de Groot [double bass]
Performance Date Thursday 2nd July 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Series
Duration 00:09:43
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation db,pf
Programme Note Writer © Kerry Smith

In 1959, Sofia Gubaidulina met Dmitri Shostakovich for a lesson, to play for him and to absorb his wisdom. He advised her to continue along her incorrect path, words that would resonate with her for the duration of her career. Gubaidulina’s adoption of microtonality, traditional folk music, and religious mysticism in her work ultimately did antagonize the Soviet government, as Shostakovich predicted, and as a result she was reprimanded and blacklisted for writing ‘irresponsible’ music.                                                                                 

A few years after this fateful meeting, in 1966, Pantomime for double bass and piano was written. Although this piece is nearly twenty years before Gubaidulina first uses the Fibonacci Sequence to structure her work, one can see that she is experimenting with form through small phrases with large expression. In the opening section, glissando and tremolo techniques pepper each phrase and a distinctive gesture with the bow ends each musical segment. A new section begins as the piano’s line is taken over by a circular staccato pattern, convincing the bass to join in with agitated Bartok pizzicato and ricochet.  In this early work, one can still hear influences of Anton Webern and even hints of her brief mentor, Shostakovich.