Vivian Fine









6 minutes


Solo double bass


Bertram Turetzky, April 8, 1964, Bennington College, Vermont

program notes

Fine had another opportunity to write for strings when bassist Betram Turetzky came to Bennington in 1964….Turetzky was eager to play new works, and Fine took the opportunity to write a solo piece. Fine uses the double bass traditionally, without any extended techniques. There are no double stops, unusual bowings, percussive or speech sounds, and only one harmonic. Instead, she chose to have her piece be a character study. It begins traditionally with the melodic shapes and long lines she often uses, but then the emotional quality changes. markings indicate “tranquillo,” then a sudden “espressivo” associated with dynamic fluctuations from pp to mf happening every two or three pitches, a long “piu intenso” phrase is followed by an active “con nobilità” passage. The closing portion of Melos is “con slennità” that is transformed into “misurato” for its final phrase. Turetzky is such a dramatic performer that one could imagine appropriate body language associated with Melos that would add touches of humor that are not foreign to Fine’s music.

–Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999