As I wrote when I first encountered them in June of 2010, The Paul Dresher Ensemble Double Duo is the result of a “merger.” Composer, guitarist, and instrument inventor Dresher has been giving duo performances with percussionist Joel Davel; and the two of them joined forces with the duo of violinist Karen Bentley Pollick and violinist Lisa Moore, formerly of Bang on a Can. That first encounter took place at an Old First Concerts recital in a program in which Dresher’s own compositions were joined by those of Martin Bresnick and Samuel Carl Adams (listed in that particular program book as “Sam Adams”).
Next month the Double Duo will return to Old First. This time compositions will again be by Dresher and Bresnick, but the Adams on the program will be Sam’s father John. In addition the invented instruments will include the work of both Dresher and Don Buchla, whose first modular synthesizer was completed 50 years ago in 1963. Readers of my national site may recall that Buchla’s synthesizer, operated by Morton Subotnick, was used to prepare the “electronic accompaniment” for Leon Kirchner’s third string quartet, which won the 1967 Pulitzer Price.
The featured work on next month’s program will be a world premiere of the first piece composed by Dresher for the entire Double Duo. The music evolved from the score for his concerto for quadrachord and orchestra, recently premiered by the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra; and Dresher also performed the instrument at last month’s San Francisco Contemporary Music Players concert in a piece eponymously entitled “Chromatic Quadrachord.” The full ensemble will also perform the Bay Area premiere of the quartet arrangement of Bresnick’s “Fantasia on a Theme by Willie Dixon,” based on improvisations by the Sixties rock group Cream. In addition, Davel, Pollick, and Moore will give a repeat performance of Dresher’s “Double Ikat;” and Pollick and Moore will also revisit their performance of his Elapsed Time, as well as performing John Adams’ Road Movies, both of which are structured in three relatively short movements.
Old First Concerts events take place in the Old First Church at 1751 Sacramento Street (on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue). This recital will be held on April 12 at 8 p.m. General admission is $17 with a special $14 rate for full-time students and seniors. Children aged twelve and under are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased through the event page on the Old First Concerts Web site. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-474-1608.