If The Owl Calls Again

Christianne Stotijn & Friends

Rick Stotijn: ‘The Adagio by Austrian composer Joseph Marx is a short piece written for cello, piano and voice. I first came across it in 2011 when I was planning a concert tour with my sister, the mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, and the pianist Joseph Breinl.

The Adagio is a beautiful, almost impressionistic piece and I immediately knew it would work brilliantly on the double bass. The Adagio’s poem is called Alles Tagverlangen (‘All the yearnings of the day’) and it’s a wistfully dreamy evocation of the moon rising over the forest.

When you think that a singer has words to express themselves, you realise that an instrumentalist needs to do so much more to expose the extremes of the piece, and to get the same expressivity and variety of colours.

When practising, I’m inspired by the voice of the baritone Christian Gerhaher. He has a powerful, dark voice like a huge tree, one that needs to move and sing. If I can capture those dark tones and colours in my playing, I know I’m doing well.’