• vc, db
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Listen to an excerpt performed by Andrew Janss, cello, and Lizzie Burns, bass

Composer note
The combination of cello and double bass has rarely been exploited in recent centuries for free-standing duets. Composers could be forgiven for wondering if two instruments with such similar qualities — if they were a comedy duo, they'd be Low and Lower — might not simply cancel out one another's power.

Fortunately, this isn't the case, and the great Yo-Yo Ma, for whom Dual was written, has often reminded us in recent years of the vitality and potency of this combination, often with his regular collaborator, double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer. The cello and the double bass, being two strapping, well-built brothers from the same instrumental family, share a number of genetic traits — a warm, dark timbre in the lower register; a uniquely earthy quality to the very sound of the bow being drawn across the instrument — that are doubly satisfying when the two instruments speak together.

— Matthew Aucion

Performance note
This is a playful piece, a dual effort which is also a duel. The dynamic markings are essential; the dynamic range should be vast. Sections with no change in dynamic should have a hovering quality; the short crescendi should lunge forward like fencers.


Coleman Itzkoff, cello; Doug Balliett, bass