Spent a nice chunk of time chatting with Robert Black the other night. In addition to being one of my oldest friends in the music profession, Robert is familiar to S21 readers as founding bassist for the Bang on a Can All Stars. Robert and I have known one another since the late 70s, when we were both undergrads at Hartt. I wrote a ton of pieces for him back then – he single-handedly defined my relationship with the double bass.
Robert reminded me about one piece I wrote called Reverie Scherzo – I think it was 1980 or 81. I also think Reverie Scherzo was my first composition to feature jump cuts – shifting from one style to another in a manic fashion. I remember thinking at the time that my education had put too much emphasis on coherence and unity, when incoherence and diversity were much more interesting and challenging. The title, a mix of French and Italian, juxtaposing dreams and punch lines, suited my temperament at the time — and, I suppose, still does.
The piece is scored for a trio of bass, trumpet and piano. Robert has given it a few performances over the years — most recently, as he informed me, last spring, when he featured it on a recital he played at Hartt. I don’t believe I still have a copy, so I’m thinking I will bug him to mail me one. As I recall, the piece was amusing and lovely and even a bit theatrical – might be worth a revival.
Last time I saw Robert was certainly a memorable occasion. We sat in a bar, watching the networks proclaim Al Gore our next president.
And that brings me to my tie-in:
Have the last ten years been a dream or a joke?