BAROQUE LEGACYJ.S. Bach and his Contemporaries performed on Double Bass
Johann Sebastian Bach, Francois Couperin, Henry Eccles, George Frideric Handel
JEREMY MCCOY, double bass
MATTHEW LARKIN, positiv organ
KEVIN MURPHY, harpsichord
Kurt Muroki, double bass
Shirien Taylor-Donahue, violin
Caterina Maria Szepes, violin
Milan Milisavljevic, viola
Jerry Grossman, cello
Double bass: Domenico Busan 
French double manual harpsichord: David Jacques Way 
Positiv organ: Karl Wilhelm 
“This impressive second CD from the Met’s Assistant Principal bassist, Jeremy McCoy is every bit as much a celebration of music as his 2005 release ‘Dialogues with Double Bass’, and likewise made with first-class collaborators... McCoy has a gorgeous tone... McCoy’s approach in his articulation, use of vibrato, and sense of style come across as remarkably historically informed; hardly surprising in a musician of his caliber and resume... all [is] wonderfully realized here with a rich palette of expressive colors. The production...is detailed, warm and clear, McCoy’s liner notes are informative and one is left hoping it will not be another 8 years before Jeremy McCoy again gathers a group of friends into the recording studio. A first class disc.”
Rob Nairn, Bass World, Vol.37 No.3, International Society of Bassists 
“There’s a reason why most people groan at the prospect of listening to solo music for the double bass: it’s because in order to be heard clearly in an ensemble setting, you have to play it up in the high positions, where its tone is least attractive. Bassist Jeremy McCoy says nuts to that. On this lovely collection of baroque sonatas by Bach, Handel, Couperin and others, he spends a lot of time playing down where the bass sounds best, and his continuo accompanists (playing various combinations of chamber organ, harpsichord, and strings) temper their own dynamics to make him more clearly audible. The result is a startlingly beautiful and highly unusual listening experience.”
Rick Anderson, CD HotList for Libraries [August 2013]
“McCoy and friends play [the music] with relish and accuracy… it is all well played.”
Moore, American Record Guide [March/April 2013]
“[The featured] musicians certainly prove that there are some wonderful stars in opera orchestra pits. McCoy and Matthew Larkin play three of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sonatas that were written for viola da gamba and harpsichord…Although neither the double bass nor the organ were the instruments for which the sonatas were composed, the listener won’t care because the performances by McCoy and Larkin are magnificent. The cool, limpid tones of the positiv are a pleasant change from the leaner sound of the harpsichord, too… McCoy plays [Handel’s Sonata in C Major] with Kevin Murphy at a French double manual harpsichord. They play it with robust tonal colorings and, despite its shaky provenance, it is a beautiful piece that deserves to be heard more often… The sound on this disc is clear and the engineer was careful to give each instrument the importance it deserves. I really enjoyed both the music and the 11-page booklet full of interesting information that came with the package. I recommend this compact disc to all lovers of Baroque music.”
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [January/February 2013]
“In these arrangements McCoy does not merely content himself with a mere ‘Hmm, so it can be done that way, too’ demonstration. Rather, with, the assistance of his colleagues, he makes the transcribed works his own.”
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [January 2013]
"McCoy showcases all registers of his steel-stringed 1749 Italian bass, with highpoints that include his haunting melody reading of the andante movement of the Sonata in G major, trills that thrill... and awesome articulation and ornamentation...In brief, an indelible contribution to the classical doubler bass catalogue"
Chris Jisi, Bass Player [December 2012]
PROGRAM NOTESThe double bass has a strong ancestral connection to the stringed instruments of the gamba family. Vestiges of this connection include a tuning pattern using fourths rather than fifths, as do instruments of the violin family, and some basic design elements such as sloping shoulders. Owing to this connection, it is not surprising that baroque sonatas originally composed for the viola da gamba are among the most suitably adapted works in the double bass’s largely borrowed solo repertoire.
By nature, the double bass’s dark tone quality and very low voice - a full octave below the cello - is not ideally suited to carrying a solo line into the far corners of a concert hall. Even when paired with
piano alone, it often struggles to be heard. To aid with projection, many staples of the double bass’s solo repertoire spend inordinate amounts of time in the high reaches of the instrument, where an expert player is able to play without allowing the sound to become strained. Even so, in these works, the most freely ringing tones of the middle and low register are largely neglected.
The program on this recording is comprised of some of the many baroque works that showcase the double bass’s sonorous voice throughout all of its registers. These works demand virtuosic dexterity and a sophisticated command of the bow, but lay rather comfortably on the instrument. Sounding an octave lower than written, they do not require further transposition or a departure from the original contours of the music. The performances are on a double bass set up in a modern orchestral fashion with steel strings, and I have therefore felt at liberty to play in a stylistic manner informed instinctively out of all of my experience. Although historically informed performance practices have had an indelible influence on how we play and listen to music of the Baroque era, the essential content of this music still remains timeless and durable.
Jeremy McCoy is Assistant Principal double bass with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Now in his twenty-eighth season at the Met, he also maintains an active role as soloist, chamber musician, studio session player and teacher. McCoy began studying double bass with David Currie in his native Ottawa. Summers spent at Interlochen and with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada included additional instruction with Oscar Zimmerman, Winston Budrow and Torvald Fredin. With assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, he continued his studies with Roger Scott at the Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music degree. At age twenty, McCoy won a position with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. The following season he joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
He has performed as recitalist at Lincoln Center and on CBC Radio and as concerto soloist with the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Musica Viva of New York. As a chamber musician, McCoy has collaborated with members of the Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard and Tokyo string quartets and with many other distinguished artists. He has performed at Bargemusic and at international festivals including Marlboro, Kneisel Hall, Japan’s Affinis Festival, Banff, Grand Tetons and Bowdoin.
Prior to devoting more time to teaching, McCoy was a dedicated performer of new music. He was a founding member of Sequitur and Ensemble Sospeso and also appeared regularly with Speculum Musicae, presenting premiere performances and recordings of chamber works by influential living composers.
As a commercial session player, McCoy has performed on an extensive list of feature film soundtracks, and has recorded string tracks for a diverse group of popular artists. His own eclectic recording of duos, Dialogues with Double Bass, was released in 2005 to popular and critical acclaim.
Jeremy McCoy teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. He has presented master classes at leading schools of music in the United States, Canada and in Japan and has contributed articles to Strings Magazine. He plays an exceptional instrument made in 1749 by the Venetian luthier Domenico Busan and uses strings by Pirastro.
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
SONATA IN G MAJOR, BWV 1027
Allegro ma non tanto
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759)
SONATA IN C MAJOR
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
SONATA IN D MAJOR, BWV 1028
HENRY ECCLES (c.1680-c.1740)
SONATA IN G MINOR
Corrente. Allegro con spirito
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
SONATA IN G MINOR, BWV 1029
FRANÇOIS COUPERIN (1668-1733)
PIÈCES EN CONCERT [Arr. Paul Bazelaire, 1924]
Air de Diable