frank stemper

for viola and piano (11’25”)


Premiered (by Fogg and Stemper) 8 August 2004 at the John F. KENNEDY CENTER for the Performing Arts in WASHINGTON DC

After much delay, Rock Bottom (2001) by Frank Stemper was composed for Cindy Fogg, with great affection.  
The music is mostly depressive in nature, representing the bottom end of a manic-depressive cycle, the ebb and flow of which torture the victim with hope of a better life (not unlike the imprisoned baritone in Dallapiccola’s Il Prigionero), only to have the ROCK BOTTOM ultimately return, stronger and more fatalistically then ever. 

Too gloomy for you?  Well, the victim in ROCK BOTTOM thinks so, too.  At ROCK BOTTOM, things cannot get any worse, so, maybe he (or perhaps she) imagines something a little more pleasant:  Island natives dancing seductively on a warm breezy night in the South Pacific, followed by zany behavior, perhaps embellished with some fermented beverages, leading to euphoric, cartoon-like romping to and fro.  Certainly we don’t have to wallow in our chemical sadness.  Depression can be a positive experience.  For at ROCK BOTTOM point in the cycle, things can only improve.

  • Rock Bottom13:03