Bertram and Nancy Turetzky have been performing togeths for over 44 years now. And they’ve been married that long too. Internationally renowned, both of them are musicians’ musicians, explorative and rules-breaking, even as they refer to the classical traditions of their instruments to develop a flute/bass repertoire that wouldn’t have existed without them. In addition, they have mentored generations of music students, including Kristin Korb and Mark Dresser, and Bert Turetzky recently has been succeeded at the University of California at San Diego by Dresser. As a reminder of the Turetzky’s exceptional musicianship, as well as a musical review of the possibilities of their instruments for sonic and even visual suggestion, Music For Flute(s) and Contrabass, I
contains an overview of some of the compositions that other musicians have written for them since the 1960’s.
On the one hand, the ten tracks of the CD signify a sense of improvisation, even as the Turetzky’s follow the outlines of the compositions that their friends have written for them. But it’s the Turetzkys’ interpretations that bring them to life as their mastery of their instruments leads into non-traditional means of expression, such as tapping the bass or distinctive overtones on the flute. Moreover, the Turetzkys understand the aesthetic intentions of the composers as well as they bring to life the thematic or impressionistic outlines, such as James Marhall’s musical description of the Cologne (Germany) Cathedral as he indicates the shapes of light formed within it through the swoops and knockings and accelerations and glissandos and colors and confinement of sound as the illumination is channeled through the structure.
Even though one knows little about the personalities of Bert and Nancy Turetzky, other than those who have performed and studied with them, it appears that opposites do
attract. For Music For Flute(s) and Contrabass, I,
significantly finds the complementary opportunities for the instruments opportunities that the Turetzkys have known all along, but which are still unfamiliar to many listeners. Whereas the flute depends upon the movement of air through the instrument, the bass depends upon the vibrations of the strings, plucked or bowed (not to mention its resonance when thumped or hit). And while the flute occupies close to the top of the sonic spectrum, the bass resides at the lower.
Still, their shared interest in explorative music, taking the instruments beyond boundaries commonly observed by traditional musicians, has created a repertoire all their own, as noted in Richard Felciano’s "Primal Balance," which not only observes, but revels in the differences between the two instruments as they come together into their own interwoven fabric of opposite ends of the spectrum implying all of the colors that come between theirs.