Larry Tuttle’s path to composing has been a long and circuitous one. He took up double bass at an early age, and played compulsively in every orchestra he could find (Youth Symphony, school and university orchestras, All-City orchestras, music camps, you name it). He studied bass at the University of Washington under James Harnett and Ron Simon, and spent a summer playing principal bass at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. A course in ear training with jazz great Gary Peacock was especially enlightening.
Bass guitar and rock music provided a lengthy left turn. Larry recorded two albums on Warner Brothers records with progressive rock band Russia. His first efforts at composing began then as a co-writer of rock songs. Several years later he discovered the Chapman Stick, and joined a hybrid instrumental group called FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC. Larry wrote extensively for that group, whose music was a total hodge-podge of classical, pop, improvisation and whatever, with a heavy emphasis on the whatever.
Currently Larry is half of the composing and performing duo STRING PLANET - Larry writing and playing Chapman Stick alongside partner Novi on viola. Larry also composes for TV and film, specializing in strings (of course) and all things imaginative and quirky. Larry wrote the main title for the PBS show LIFE PART II. His music has been used in feature films such as ARTHUR (2011 version) and THE CHANGE-UP, and television shows including THE GOOD WIFE, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, THE TODAY SHOW and THE L WORD. You can see and hear all about it at www.stringplanet.com.
PROGRAM NOTES – CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE
CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE was pretty much an accident. Well, if not an accident, then at least an unintended consequence. Neither fiddling nor chorales were part of the plan. They just showed up at the door unannounced and refused to go away.
The objective was to compose a piece that would start from a simple beginning, take you on a journey through different moods and scenarios and then arrive at a satisfying conclusion.
The beginning is basically a groove - very gentle and slightly mystical, but a groove nonetheless, a remnant (or a ghost) from all my years spent writing for a rhythm section. If trumpets, oboes, flutes, bassoons and clarinets don’t seem like groove instruments, well, you can see my problem. I was learning to divorce myself from the ever-present guitars, pianos, drums and basses which seem to be hard-wired into my musical psyche.
The high point of the piece for me comes at the place where the chorale and the fiddle tune play simultaneously – a slightly off-center collision of styles that hits an uplifting note and hopefully leaves behind an after-glow of optimism. All the music at the beginning is building to that particular moment and everything that happens afterwards is winding its way slowly back down the hill.
CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE was originally written for CELA (Composers Ensemble Los Angeles), and the members of that fantastic group have my special thanks for helping me to road test it, work out the bugs and get the piece up and running. Thanks also to James Domine and the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra for programming the work.