Edgar Meyer comes to LU

Laura Streyle

World-renowned bassist Edgar Meyer gave the second to last concert of the 100th anniversary 2008-09 Artist Series at Lawrence Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
Meyer plays music that can be heard rolling across the Appalachian Mountains; he plays music that can be heard drifting on the breeze during an outdoor summer music festival concert – and he plays music that can be heard gliding on the polished surfaces of a chapel.
Seeing as Appleton has few mountains for music to roll across and that the warm days of spring are still settling into the Fox Valley, the Lawrence Memorial Chapel seemed the best fit for Meyer and his double bass.
With bass in tow, Meyer took the stage with his long-time accompanist, Amy Dorfman. After a quick bow, Meyer flipped his short, red tie over his shoulder, brought his instrument in close and sent three flawless movements of Joseph Hayden’s “Divertimento” into the chapel.
Next, Meyer performed “Sonata in A minor, D. 821” by Franz Schubert. As he played, the freedom in his left hand gave the impression that the double bass is an easily navigable instrument – that the lengthy black fingerboard is really only a couple of feet long.
Pushing his instrument away from his body to wipe the sweat from his forehead, Meyer shyly looked out into the chapel audience and said a few quiet words about his next piece, one of his own compositions, entitled, “Canon.”
“Perhaps this is a little bit basic to say in this setting, but a canon is a round -where two people are playing the same material at different times. In this next piece, I’m going to play something, and then [Dorfman] is going to play the same thing, except she’s going to add a few more things,” said Meyer with a smile.
It became clear that he smiled because of the complexity of the “few more things” that were added in Dorfman’s part during the “Canon.”
Arguably, the most virtuosic selection of the night came after the intermission. A piece one often hears vibrating from the strings of a cello, Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Unaccompanied Suite No. 1, BWV 1007” warmly filled the hall from the depths of Meyer’s double bass.
After the final piece, Bottesini’s “Fantasia Cerrito,” the audience was up out of their seats, eager for an encore selection. An exhausted Edgar Meyer walked out onto stage and bowed, signaling to the audience that there would not be an encore.
While this might have disappointed the crowd, rumor has it that Meyer had his reasons: a busy night of recording music in his hotel room until 2 a.m., an important e-mail correspondence with banjo player Béla Fleck, and a double bass master class that he was scheduled to give in Harper Hall at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. For Meyer, his encore seems to be a never-ending musical life.

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