• Paul Ramsier
  • Divertimento Concertante on a Theme of Couperin (1965)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • 2222/3131/timp.perc/hp/str
  • Double bass or cello
  • 16 min

Programme Note

First performance:
June 20, 1965
Gary Karr, doublebass
Chicago Symphony
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL

The Divertimento Concertante is a frequent competition piece. The theme is taken from a harpsichord piece by François Couperin entitled La Bandoline (1713).

Composer note:
When I first heard [Gary] Karr play, I wanted to come up with a piece that could explore a range of the unique lyrical and of virtuoso qualities of the solo double bass within the scope of a concerto-like vehicle. The opening Couperin theme became the basis for six contrasting movements whose moods suggested descriptive titles. At that time Gary Karr lived in the same New York neighborhood, so I was able to try out my ideas on a daily basis. The ideas flowed easily, generated by our mutual excitement in discovering new musical territory for the double bass. All of the music got its impetus that way, but especially certain sections such as the 'Recitative' movement, which features pizzicato timbres, the 'Valse Cinematique,' for which I employed a nostalgic idea to showcase the instrument's startling high notes, and the 'Dirge,' which retains a lyric intensity throughout a wide range.

— Paul Ramsier