I just added two new tracks to my podcast Jason Heath’s Double Bass Performances. They are both live cuts or pieces that I premiered by the composer Bjorn Berkhout. Bjorn is a member of the Loyola University faculty and is an internationally recognized composer. His music has been performed by the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam, the June in Buffalo festival in Buffalo, New York, and the Omaha Symphony in Omaha, Nebraska. His double bass music is published by the great double bass publishing company Discordia Music, which was started by Chicago Symphony bassist Michael Hovnanian about 10 years ago.
Both of these pieces are written in a stark style. I have known Bjorn for many years now, and during this time I have seen him go through many different compositional styles. Rise reminds me of a minimalist heavy metal bass quartet, if that makes any sense. I played the first four performances of Rise in a few different bass quartets. It was recently played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra bass quartet.
Dakota Sleeps is an even bleaker piece. The piece was originally called “Stark Beauty”, which is an excellent description. It is performed here with tape and bass, although it was originally written for piano and bass. Check out Bjorn’s website here. To order his music, contact him directly or visit Discordia Music’s catalog.