The 2020 Covid19 pandemic coincided with my reaching the age of fifty, and so a universal period of reflection and re-evaluation was heightened by this mid-life milestone. In the absence of concerts, the risk for a performing musician was of falling into despondency, leaving one’s instrument aside because there was no point in practising. Some of my friends went that way. But I felt that I had to fight the melancholy for fear of being overcome by it, and it resulted in a deeply rewarding period with my bass. I had the time to engage with Joe’s Sonata at last, and after a couple of months had decided how best to adapt it to the larger instrument. I then revisited a number of Irish solo pieces that had particularly resonated with me – and which explored different facets of the bass – and with the support of the Sligo International Chamber Music Festival I contacted Deirdre for something brand new to round it off. A successful funding application led to the recording of this album in March 2021, with the remarkable Laoise O’Brien producing, the unflappable Ben Rawlins engineering, and the brilliant Gary Beecher on piano. What fun we had!
This album, then, is three things: a personal retrospective, a look at a diverse set of composers from Ireland through the medium of my instrument, and a celebration of what you can do with a double bass. From the traditional craftsmanship of the Sonata to the gay abandon of Bodhrán; from 1985 to 2021; from the very bottom to the tippy-top; from me to you, with gratitude for the privilege of a life in music.
You can purchase it as high-quality digital download with booklet on bandcamp or on CD from the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin. Also available on Spotify and other streaming services.