Dispatch from the GiantDesk: Bass and cheese pair well together

Last week we continued to show the National Public Radio they’re not the only ones who can get cool musicians to play in their offices by consummating our GiantDesk series of concerts as an actual, bonafide, repeating series. The second concert/ interview saw celebrated bassist and soon-to-be-celebrated cheesemonger Evan Runyon grace us with his bass and cheese. Eschewing conventional cheese pairing things like wine and beer, the attendees were instead allowed to stuff their ears while stuffing their faces—a pairing with considerable advantages over a normal wine and cheese which has to be ingested entirely through the mouth, one at a time (in polite company).

At any rate, here is a picture of Evan’s bass, filtered for your pleasure:


Evan is a vocal opponent of the sit-still-and-be-quiet-until-the-piece-is-over type concert, so the evening was more of a throwback to the “salon” concert of the 18th century, when people often held concerts in their houses, and no more had to sit still for them than they had to check their Twitter feeds during the concert. Because moving around and chatting and eating cheese was their Twitter. Thus it was that Evan would play a piece like Elliot Carter’s Figment III, and we would help ourselves to some good old Taleggio, the Taleggio being stinky and abrasive like Carter’s music.

taleggio and bass

An old cheese would have worked equally well however, since Carter was 97 years youngish when he wrote the piece. Before Carter passed away, Evan told us how he attempted to make contact with the composer to ask him a few questions. The nursing home, however, had stricter security procedures than he had anticipated, and Carter died before ever getting to meet this great champion of his extreme late-period works.

But on to happier things! Two of the composers whose music was heard at GiantDesk are still alive! Hooray for the living!

The works of David Lang and Peter Velikonja enclosed the program. If you were wondering why there was no hyperlink with Velikonja’s name, it’s because he has pretty much no existence on the internet, and there are no recordings of his works. Nonetheless, his piece left the GiantDeskees rapt; a stillness fell over the room, devoid even of the chewing of cheese. The experience of the audience in this last piece showed that there is still music to be discovered, and not merely searched for, in the Google sense.

By Evan’s own admission he likes weird music. And now, because of his dedication to the repertoire, and with a little help from some cheese, a few more people like weird music too. And that, my friends, is exactly the spirit of GiantDesk.

Take that NPR.