Butler University Faculty Artist Series: David Murray, double bass 

Three and a half stars
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall; Oct. 21

Few people know how to get a crowd like David Murray — yet again, I didn’t see a seat remaining for his annual recital. His concerts always promise to be entertaining, and this year was no different. Things started off a little more seriously with two works in minor keys, and both transcribed: J.S. Bach’s Flute Partita in A Minor, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D Minor. To even attempt either of these works on double bass is quite the challenge, and Murray certainly has the skills to play those pieces. But he was not at his strongest; there were intonation issues and timid playing. Pianist Catherine Bringerud is to be highly commended, however, for her very solid accompaniment. For the second half, Murray brought out Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra principal bassist Ju Fang Liu for some bass duets, and both played magnificently. Jon Deak’s B.B. Wolf, one of Murray’s signature pieces, combines drama, speaking and all sorts of bass pyrotechnics. This was the highlight of the concert, even more so than the virtuosic violin piece that the program ended on, Pablo Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen.

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