Posts Tagged ‘Gunther Schuller’

Make No Little Plans

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.

I’ve decided to take this famous quote from Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) to heart.

For too long, this ensemble has been built on little plans. Mostly, the plan has been to wait by the phone for some arts organization to call, inquiring about fees or offering a performance. This has not proved a productive way to get lots of performance opportunities. When a performance has arisen, I’ve scrambled to pull together some repertoire and assemble a cast of players (drawing on a group of familiars).

While I’ve been basically satisfied with the results, it’s not the ultimate goal.

I hesitate to state the true ultimate goal, for fear of sounding insanely over ambitious, but maybe in a future post.

Back to the subject at hand: bigger plans! I have decided that I need to prepare a program that is ambitious and interesting, in advance of any planned performance. I need to find the players that can execute it, and then schedule several performances, as a goal or target. And then work like the dickens to make a great show of it. And really, I’d like to record the result and make it available for sale.

(I’ve spent a fair amount of time at this, with not a whole lot to show for it. A recording would be handsome documentary evidence of the work I’ve done.)

And I want to pick ambitious, challenging and interesting repertoire for this endeavor. At the moment, I am trying to decide between two pieces as the anchor for the performance:

There is a third possibility, Bjorn Berkhout’s Rise, which we have performed in the past, but I feel a need to acknowledge some of the ‘history’ of the double bass quartet.

The program would be rounded out with some lighter fare, probably one of Tony Osborne‘s recent compositions, perhaps some transcriptions.

Or perhaps there is some epic work for bass quartet that I’m not aware of.

I would love to hear what you think in the comments. Which is the work more in need of a current playing? Which would you rather hear, or buy a copy of? (And if you’re a member of the strings subgroup of the Professional Musician’s Network on LinkedIn, I’ve created a poll there asking the same question.)