Sandor Ostlund | Leap of Faith

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Leap of Faith

by Sandor Ostlund

Four new and original compositions for double bass--a stunning and virtuosic concerto, music for bass and percussion that is in turn meditative and driving, a beautiful serial composition, and a short solo work by the great François Rabbath.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Concerto for Double Bass: Movement 1
7:45 $0.99
2. Concerto for Double Bass: Movement 2
5:39 $0.99
3. Concerto for Double Bass: Movement 3
5:15 $0.99
4. Leap of Faith: Meditation
2:31 $0.99
5. Leap of Faith: Meditation Continued
5:58 $0.99
6. Leap of Faith: Conclusion Groove
3:11 $0.99
7. Ascension
11:00 $0.99
8. Etude De Concert
3:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Leap of Faith—Liner Notes

The compositions featured on this recording represent a wide variety of styles and aesthetics, and it is both interesting and enjoyable to hear the different voices each of these composers have speaking through the same instrument. Three of the composers share a Baylor University affiliation with me: Scott McAllister and Ed Taylor are colleagues, and Matt Kline was a student of mine. François Rabbath was (and always will be) one of my beloved mentors.
It has truly been a privilege and joy to work with the amazing composers and performers featured on this project.

When the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra asked me to perform a concerto with them in 2010, I decided to commission a brand new piece for the occasion. I approached Scott McAllister and he enthusiastically agreed to write this concerto. He encouraged a collaborative working environment between composer and performer: notes were altered, sections transposed, octaves changed, and multi-stops and artificial harmonics were added until the piece evolved into something that felt like a custom tailored suit—the piece I would have wanted to write myself if I wore the hat of a composer. Scott brought a fresh perspective, expressiveness, and agility to this concerto that really make this a joy to perform.
The work opens with a wild, improvised flurry of notes before giving way to an ethereal theme that permeates the entire piece. The end of the first movement is a driving groove that the bass gets to fly over. The second movement is truly beautiful and features extensive use of melodic artificial harmonics. The final tour de force movement ends with an improvised cadenza.

With his taste for cutting edge music, sonic landscape, and instrumental exploration, it was a treat to witness this exceptional musician’s compositional process. The piece uses obscure harmonics, hammer on/pull-offs, tapping, and the use of a bass drum mallet on the bass that provides a mesmerizing, otherworldly sound in the second movement.
As interesting and creative as the bass writing is, the percussion part is equally as astonishing. In performance, Todd Meehan is completely surrounded by walls of instruments demanding great technical and musical ability.

Ascension is a single movement work cast in a Bogen form reminiscent of the Bartok Fourth and Fifth String Quartets. The first three sections of the composition get progressively longer, unfolding according to the Divine Proportion, and culminate in the longest and central section of the work. This axial section, the dynamic arc of which bears a self-similarity to the work as a whole, is followed by a reworking of the initial three sections, now presented in reverse order. Set against this symmetrical, palindromic design is a second formal strand that is asymmetric in nature. The design of this strand is based on the Golden Section and is linked isomorphically to each of the seven constituent sections of the work. These two divergent strands serve to create tension at the macro level as the composition unfolds.
The title of the work, which offers a multiplicity of references, was chosen early on in the compositional process. As the work neared its completion the discovery of a quotation, penned by one of the composer’s favorite authors, revealed some interesting metaphorical associations with the composition: “I have long been fond of the time between Easter and Ascension. After all, here, too, there is great tension. How are human beings to endure earthly tensions if they know nothing of the tension between Heaven and earth?” – Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Étude de Concert comes from François’ fourth book of technique and music for the double bass, and I was very honored to have it dedicated to me. This music for solo bass eschews the instrument’s landmarks in favor of atonal and (often) diminished patterns that fly up and down the fingerboard using one of his trademark methods called the Crab Technique. This “bonus track” presents a somewhat impromptu performance of the piece, with an improvisatory middle section in a room full of loved ones and friends old and new.

Biography for Sandor Ostlund:

Sandor Ostlund is Associate Professor of Double Bass at Baylor University and is an active and versatile performer and pedagogue. He has an eclectic musical background that includes solo, chamber, orchestral, early music, studio, jazz, and new music performances.

As a soloist, Dr. Ostlund has performed in recitals throughout the United States. He has appeared in featured performances at International Society of Bassists Conventions, as concert soloist with orchestras, in live radio broadcasts, and has premiered many works for solo double bass.

Ensembles that Dr. Ostlund has played with include the Detroit Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Context, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, the San Antonio Symphony, the National Philharmonic, Le Sinfonietta de Paris, the Madison Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony. Currently he is Principal Double Bassist with the Waco Symphony Orchestra and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.

He has been invited to teach and perform at clinics and universities including the Texas Music Festival, Penn State University, Northwestern University, SUNY-Stony Brook, James Madison University, Golden Gate Bass Camp, Colorado Suzuki Institute, American Festival for the Arts, Shenandoah Conservatory Performing Arts Festival, the Texas Double Bass Symposium, the TCU International Bass Festival, the Midwest Double Bass Symposium, and the annual Richard Davis Double Bass Conference.

Dr. Ostlund received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with bass legend Richard Davis. He received his Master’s degree and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University, where he is the first and only double bassist to receive a DMA from esteemed performer and pedagogue Paul Ellison. He has also studied in Paris with renowned virtuoso François Rabbath, where he earned both the performing and teaching diplomas from L’Institut International François Rabbath. Before arriving at Baylor University, Dr. Ostlund held faculty appointments at West Texas A&M University and Shenandoah Conservatory.



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