Schickele, Peter - River Run for Contrabass and Harpsichord - Quantum Bass Market
Schickele, Peter - River Run for Contrabass and Harpsichord - Quantum Bass Market

Schickele, Peter - River Run for Contrabass and Harpsichord

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Peter Schickele - River Run for Contrabass and Harpsichord

River Run was written as part of a triptych of works for string bass and each of three keyboards: piano, organ, and harpsichord. As it turned out, the piece with organ was withdrawn, and the other two pieces still exist as separate works.

Whereas Stepping Out uses predominantly the texture of bass melodies and piano accompaniment, in River Run the bass is often a general part of texture, and is not meant to stand out in front all the time.

This is a trance-like, perpetual motion kind of piece, influenced as much by minimalism and music from India as it is by traditional European classical music. There is no dramatic form, in the sense of big climaxes and clearly defined sections; it's more a matter of "watchin' the river go by."

That endlessly flowing feeling is what led to the choice of title. In the 1960's I wrote two film scores (The Crazy Quilt and Funnyman) for California film maker John Korty. He later made a movie called Riverrun; that title came into my mind when I was thinking about what to call this piece, and John was glad to have me use it (strictly speaking, titles aren't copyrightable, but one wants to do the right thing).

The entire triptych was commissioned by Gary Karr and Harmon Lewis. It was completed on August 6, 1976.

-Peter Schickele