Paul Ramsier EUSEBIUS REVISITED “Remembrances of Schumann” FOR CELLO OR DOUBLE BASS AND PIANO
Double bass part in solo tuning
Recognizing that the lyric qualities of the solo double bass are ideal for music of the Romantic period – but that no major composer of that period composed for the instrument – Ramsier conceived of a large work, a “paraphrase” of piano pieces by Robert Schumann. Composers such as Liszt would paraphrase music of other composers, though “the emphasis is definitely not pyrotechnical, as it sometimes was for Liszt. Bach also would paraphrase his own compositions-and those of other composers-for various instruments or ensembles because they would work that way. So there is precedent.
“When I got going on it, I found that I’d set a difficult task for myself. It needed to preserve the integrity of the original music, as if Schumann might have known what the bass could do.
“In Eusebius Revisited, the progression of these pieces follows a romantic scheme of my own, which might suggest Eusebius, the poet, emerging from the past. The poet might arrive tentatively, almost shyly, becoming ever more ardent and lively, even playful, finally giving in to an unabashed love of life. In VI (Moderato sostenuto), an unaccompanied solo follows – a free lyric cadenza that reminisces on Schumannesque themes. It leads into a reflective ‘night piece’ that takes the poet back into his own century. Eusebius Revisited provides its own encore, something I felt would suit music of such romantic temperament.”
The piece was conceived for solo bass with strings and piano. The first performance took place in Seattle by Gary Karr with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra conducted by Giora Bernstein on March 5, l980. The recording by Mark Alison Morton utilizes the version for double bass and piano. Eusebius Revisited was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.