HISTORY 14

with prof. DAVID HEYES

www.recitalmusic.net

"It is difficult to imagine a free spirit and entertainer like Hauta-aho tied down to an orchestra job for a quarter of a century. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has never wanted to become a regular teacher. Though he loves kids and is more than happy to help and advise at workshops and festivals, treating his masterclass students with love and devotion, he recognises and seemingly shies away from the responsibility that comes with a regular teaching position: 'Teaching, it's like your child, you have to be there for the student from start to finish and care about everything and [watch] how you react.'
He is admirably honest about the fact that he feels uncomfortable with this responsibility, especially when confronted with untalented or unruly children. He hated his short teaching spell at the Helsinki Conservatory as he was trying to educate '40 per cent impossible guys, with no ears,' he winces. 'If there were only very clever students, I would like to...'
So Hauta-aho sticks to what he enjoys most: creating new sound worlds for the instrument, experimenting in different bands and injecting a good measure of fun into the often all-too-serious and solemn bass world." Katinka Welz/ Double Bassist No.15, Winter 2000]

Although Teppo Hauta-aho doesn't 'teach' in the conventional sense of the word, his performances are a veritable masterclass in music, communication, colour, inspiration and so much more. To hear him play his own music demonstrates far more than words can ever say about his approach to the double bass, with a freedom he transports from his jazz and improvisation background into the world of classical music. Through his double bass he says everything you need to know about music and life...

Teppo has never taught on a regular basis but is still passionate about education and writing music for young bassists, something he has done throughout his composing career. He has been a popular figure at Bass-Fest for many years, and also at the double bass weekend at Wells Cathedral School (Somerset, UK), and works well with bassists of all ages and abilities with his sense of fun and anarchy never far from the surface. He has a desire to create music which is useful, playable and communicates and has written a wealth of music for beginner and intermediate double bass ensembles, composed from the 1980s to the present day.

The late 1980s saw a revolution in the double bass world with the introduction of the mini-bass, a quarter-sized instrument which was aimed at the young player. In the past bassists had started to play when they were tall enough to grapple with a 1/2 or 3/4 sized instrument, beginning at the age of 12 or 13 and even later for many, and putting them at a disadvantage from violinists and cellists who were able to play from the age of 5 or 6 years, sometimes younger. The advent of the mini-bass also created opportunities for composers to write and arrange beginner music for children, something which on the whole was lacking in the double bass literature at the time. Teppo Hauta-aho seized the chance as younger players took up the double bass in Finland and he composed many double bass pieces for various teachers and teaching projects. New methods of teaching around the world introduced the idea of both solo and ensemble lessons creating opportunities for younger bassists to play in chamber music from an early stage. Double Bass workshops became more popular and many fine composers such as Tony Osborne and Teppo Hauta-aho helped to kick-start the interest in writing for young bassists. Each created a completely different sound world, both successful and popular with students, teachers and audiences, but each from a writing from a different background and perspective.

Teppo Hauta-aho's The Mini-Bass Symphony was completed on 12 January 1986 and is aimed at younger players, but has also been very popular with adults as well. Written to fulfill a need for beginner ensemble repertoire, it is in five parts, which also subdivide, and can be played by ten players or much larger forces. In four short and characterful movements, the composer was careful to create both musical and technical challenges for a range of ability levels in one piece. The constant use of open strings and simple harmonics help, alongside inventive percussion effects, to produce a work of enormous contrasts and textures. The complete work only lasts around 12 minutes and is a wonderful example of how inventive Teppo Hauta-aho is even when writing for beginner bassists and primarily using the lower positions of the instrument. One problem when writing or arranging for double bass ensemble is clarity, or the 'mud factor' - too many instruments playing together in very low bass clef can be an issue - but Teppo creates height by adding simple harmonics, alongside using pizzicato to add rhythm but not continuous sound, and easy percussion effects. Young players are nothing if not adventurous and the use of these new sounds offer accessible and interesting challenges with the enjoyment of working in a massed bass setting and creating wonderfully inventive music, but seemingly with minimal resources.

The first movement (Andante) is in 3/4 time and begins with open strings played pizzicato to anchor the music and create unity before the addition of harmonics in bar 5. The music is simple but effective and the main musical idea is in A minor/major and goes no higher than 4th position, although a solo during the last few bars ascends to 5th position, but there is nothing here that a young bass ensemble couldn't tackle. There is something for all levels of mini-bassists and opportunities to develop ensemble skills alongside technical ones. The second movement (Allegro moderato) is more rhythmically interesting and offers, with the addition of 6/4 bars to the 4/4 metre, a complete contrast to the previous movement. This has more energy and momentum and a short solo moves into low thumb position (there will always be one far more advanced player in any bass ensemble) which links directly into the third movement (Adagio). The addition of glissando and tremolando, alongside playing effects such as sul ponticello and sul tasto, add a touch of exoticism to the mix. The music is more challenging but still effective and innovative, and a completely new sound world is created and this is effective in performance.

The last movement (Allegro moderato) is an exercise in texture and ostinatos - minimalism even. Each player has a short rhythmic or melodic pattern which repeats endlessly, but each adding colour and texture to the ensemble, and the overall effect is one of great imagination and invention. The music builds, player by player now in ten parts, to a strong and exciting climax, before slowly descending in dynamic and intensity as each player gradually drops out. A hissed 'sss' from basses 1-4 and an effective background noise from basses 5 and 7 rubbing the belly of the bass with their right hand brings the piece to quiet and successful ending.

Not a typical symphony in the traditional sense of the term, but a work of amazing ingenuity and creativity. The composer uses the limitations of the players to create the building blocks of the piece and then adds effects and sounds to create interest for both players and audiences alike. He introduces simple contemporary effects in a gentle and non-threatening way, ensuring the sound world is very much of the later 20th-century, with the aim of opening the eyes and ears of the young bassists to the many possibilities of the double bass, even in the early stages of study. Young bassists will tackle anything if they are given encouragement and confidence - sul ponticello may not be used in beginner repertoire, or orchestral music, but how wonderful to know how to produce and control this effect even from an early age. The use of simple motifs, whether musical or rhythmic creates a hypnotic effect which is extremely effective in performance.

The introduction of the mini-bass in the 1980s was truly a revolution across the double bass world. Many players and teachers embraced the idea of teaching the instrument to young players with the opportunities to create new repertoire and to rethink the traditional teaching methods. The level of playing and teaching, alongside increase in repertoire both in quantity and quality, are all part of this modern revolution. Teppo Hauta-aho's The Mini-Bass Symphony of 1986 was at the start of this new world and exemplifies his pioneering spirit and the quest to offer great music for every level of bassist. George Vance first encountered the piece in Finland, liked what he saw, and took it back to America where he created the first publication and arranged many performances. He saw what other eminent players and teachers possibly couldn't see - opportunities rather than challenges - and knew the teaching worth of such a piece. Teppo Hauta-aho may not be a teacher but he certainly knows how to teach

"The double-bass repertory is of course small; a curiosity is Dubensky's Fugue for ten double-basses. For the position of the double bass in chamber music...Van Dieren left a string quartet (very difficult) with double-bass instead of cello."

This short extract is taken from The Oxford Companion to Music by Percy A. Scholes (OUP, 10th Edition 1969, p.1084) and fascinated me for almost forty years, but in that time I have found no trace of the Fugue for ten double basses. I have, however, been able to amass much information about Arcady Dubensky, a Russian emigre who lived in America for most of his life, and discovered two forgotten works for double bass by him which are now published by Recital Music.

Arcady Dubensky was born in Viatka, Russia on 3 October 1890 (other sources state 15 October) into a musical and artistic family - his father was a dramatic Shakespearian actor and his mother an opera and operetta singer - and began to study the violin from the age of six. He became a member of the Viatka Cathedral Choir when he was eight years old and, two years later, made his concert debut at the Viatka City Theatre as part of the Cathedral choir. In 1904 he was offered a scholarship to study at the Moscow Conservatoire, where he stayed until 1910, studying violin for two years with Duloff and four years with Grijimali, and counterpoint with Alexander Illinsky, and subsequently studied in Switzerland with Cesar Thomson (violin) and in Paris with Alexander Glazunov (composition). After graduation Dubensky joined the 1st violins if the Moscow Imperial Opera Orchestra (1910-1919), at the same time taking conducting lesson from Arends, the director of the ballet. He often played as a soloist, including a memorable performance in 1914 as the blind violinist in Rimsky-Korsakov's opera 'Mozart and Salieri', when the famous Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin performed the role of Salieri.

Dubensky left Russia in 1919 and worked for a time in Constantinople, arriving in America in July 1921 and becoming a naturalised American citizen on 22 September 1927. From 1921-22 he played 1st violin with the Capitol Orchestra (New York) and also with the New York Symphony Orchestra (1923-28) until its amalgamation with the New York Philharmonic Society in 1928. From that date until the mid-1950s Dubensky played as a 2nd violinist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside his work as talented and active composer and arranger. He died at his home in Tenafly, New Jersey on 14 October 1966, aged seventy-six.

Arcady Dubensky was a prolific composer and arranger writing orchestral and operatic works, alongside chamber music and transcriptions, with at least two works for double bass, or possibly three if the Fugue for 10 double basses is ever unearthed. He described himself as "...one of the American composers who have followed the traditions and forms of the old classical school" writing music which was beautifully crafted and shaped, with the added advantage of also being very audience friendly. Many of his orchestral works were performed by leading conductors and orchestras and his friendship with Serge Koussevitsky, Fabien Sevitsky and Leopold Stokowski helped to promote his works with the very best symphonic forces at the time.

Occasionally the New York Philharmonic organised questionnaires amongst its members and these have helped to provide added biographical details about Dubensky, the musician and the man. In one he mentions that he also played the viola and piano, enjoyed reading as a hobby, played a French violin by Lupot, that his wife Olympia was not a musician, that he was awarded an Italian violin as the prize at his graduation from the Moscow Conservatoire, was an only child, and that the music of Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner and modern composers were the most difficult in the orchestral repertoire for violin. More amazingly, for a questionnaire aimed at professional musicians was the question 'Do you like to cook? What is your favorite food? If possible, give recipe - your own or your wife's or mother's'. Dubensky answered "I don't like to cook. I like Russian piroshki. Here is the recipe (Recipe of Mme Dubensky), followed by the ingredients and instructions of how to make dish. You don't find this type of information in the history books!

Dubensky appears to have been a very practical and utilitarian composer and possibly many of his works were written at the behest of his orchestral colleagues or friends who were in search of a piece for a specific or unusual instrumentation. He was quite prolific and seemed to have composed throughout most of his performing career producing four operas, a Symphony, Trombone Concerto, two string quartets, a string sextet and other chamber and orchestral music. Alongside these 'traditional' forms is an intriguing body of music for more unusual combinations notably a Fugue for 18 violins (1932), which was probably his most famous work (performed in New York, Berlin, Paris, London, Palermo, Buenos Aires and Brazil, to name but a few), a Trumpet Overture for 18 toy trumpets and 2 bass drums (1949), Variations for 8 clarinets (1932), Theme & Variations for 4 horns (1932), Suite for 4 trumpets (1935), Suite for 9 flutes (1935) but more importantly for double bassists is his Prelude & Fugue for double bass quartet, dating from 1933.

The score of Dubensky's Prelude & Fugue for double bass quartet was completed on 16 May 1933 and remained in manuscript until it was published in 2013 by Recital Music. This work, alongside the Suite for double bass quartet by Bernhard Alt (1903-1945), vies for the title of the first double bass quartet to be written. In the case of Dubensky's Prelude & Fugue there appears to be no documentation about it's history or performances, apart from the date it was completed. Was it written for the composer's double bass colleagues in the New York Philharmonic? Was it written as a technical exercise for the composer? Was it written in response to the premiere of Alt's Suite in Berlin by four bassists from the Berlin Philharmonic in 1933? At the moment all are credible but mere speculation. If Dubensky's quartet was composed for his double bass composers in the orchestra it is likely that it was premiered in New York in the 1930s. The composer kept many concert programmes and newspaper clippings about performances of his music (many of which are now in my collection) but there is no mention of the double bass quartet.

Alt's Suite for double bass quartet used two tunings - basses 1 and 2 are in solo tuning and basses 3 and 4 in orchestral, which was also used by Th.A. Findeisen in his Quartett-Suite, published in 1934. Dubensky used the same tuning for all four players and composed a work for an unusual combination of instruments but in a traditional setting. Ever since J.S. Bach's 48 Preludes & Fugues composers have used the form for both instrumental and orchestral works. Dubensky, as a self-confessed traditionalist, was only following a long line of other composers, producing an interesting and inventive work for the time, and also used the form for other compositions.

The Prelude is in 3/8 time, in the key of E minor, and in the style of a minuet and trio. The melodic style is tonal and approachable, with each bass staying within its own register, much like a choral work for SATB where the spacing is important. Bass 1 has most of the melodic material, primarily in the higher register, but there is something of interest for each player. A unified rhythmic pattern is used to good effect throughout the movement and the spacing is expertly applied, giving clarity throughout, indicating that Dubensky knew the potential pitfalls and problems when writing for double bass quartet.

The Fugue, also in E minor, begins with Bass 3 and is in the same key and style as the Fugue in Joseph Lauber's Suite for double bass quartet. Each bass enters in turn - bass 2 follows with the theme a 5th higher, bass 1 has the original fugue subject but an octave higher than the first entry and bass 4 enters with the same subject as bass 2 but an octave lower and in the low orchestral register. The music builds to a cadential point after 27 bars leading into a more virtuosic and lively fugue which continues to develop, offering challenges for each player. Bass 4 reintroduces the original theme, in the lowest register with scurrying semiquaver passages above, eventually leading to a two-part section where the two different subjects are heard together. The movement ends with a fast and furious coda which leads into a slow and solemn E major conclusion.

The original manuscript includes a few fingerings for bass 1 and some additional pencil markings but no other clues to indicate if it was ever performed or even rehearsed. A virtuosic two-bar section has been crossed out in the Fugue but apart from that the music is fairly clear to read, although not the neatest of copies. Bass 1 and 2 are written in bass clef with an octave sign above which was usual for the time I am certain.

Arcady Dubensky was a fine craftsman and composer who seemed to relish the challenge of writing for unusual instrumental combinations. He was a dedicated traditionalist rather than a ground-breaking radical and composed music which has integrity, character and ingenuity. His Prelude & Fugue for double bass quartet is not as adventurous as Gunther Schuller's quartet, composed 15 years later, but is still a fascinating work in the relatively short history of the quartet medium. It demonstrates the level of bass playing at the time and it is unlikely that such an experienced orchestral violinist and composer would write music which was unplayable. It may be challenging but it is more than probable that he knew the bassists he was writing for and their skills as performers.

A long forgotten masterpiece? I don't think so, but still a work which is important in the history of the double bass quartet and ideal for any serious-minded bass quartet who have tired of transcriptions and the 'fun' element of the double bass. Overlooked but certainly it shouldn't be forgotten. by prof DAVID EYES

Vanhal's Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra is arguably the finest work for double bass from the Classical era, but is also the one we know the least about. The only existing copy is in Sperger's collection and the original manuscript is either lost, or hidden away in a library or archive, and there are no clear indications about when it was composed or performed. Plenty of supposition and speculation but little clear fact.
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Jan Krtitel (Johann Baptist) Vanhal was born on 12 May 1739 in Neu-Nechanitz (Bohemia) and earned his living as a violinist, organist and composer. He studied with Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) in Vienna and in Italy from 1769-1771 and most biographies cite that he suffered from a 'debilitating mental illness' on his return, but he continued to compose prolifically and with no apparent decline in the quality of his work. Vanhal moved to Vienna in 1780, working as a freelance musician and one of the first of the time to do so, where he lived until his death on 20 August 1813 and his years there saw a change from writing symphonies and string quartets to writing piano and chamber music, alongside a wealth of choral and church music. He was an active participant in Viennese musical life and, although most music lovers today will have never heard a note of his music, they will certainly know his name from the legendary account of a string quartet performance by Haydn, Dittersdorf, Mozart and Vanhal in 1784.

Irish tenor Michael Kelly (1762-1826), who sang Don Basilio in the Viennese premiere of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (1786), remembers in his book 'Reminiscences' (1826) of the exceptional string quartet performance in 1784, in the house of his close friend Stephan Storace, which included Joseph Haydn (1st violin), Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (2nd violin), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (viola) and Johann Baptist Vanhal (cello). Has there ever been a more stellar line up of performers?
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Johann Baptist Vanhal's Concerto for Double Bass is originally in E flat major with the bassist using a semitone scordatura, but still reading in the key of D major - the 'traditional' Viennese tuning of the day [A,F#,D,A,F]. This tuning favoured the key of D and most works are written in D major, but composers would occasionally use this semitone scordatura to vary the tonality of the concertos. Nowadays, when played on a modern bass tuned in 4ths, it is played in the key of C, D or even E major. Would any other instrument play the same piece in so many different keys? I don't think so...

Canadian double bassist and 18th-century specialist David Sinclair writes: "...The solo copies of most of the existing known Viennese repertoire is thanks to J.M. Sperger (1750-1812) and his music collection...Sperger had these works copied for his own use, and wrote cadenzas for both the Vanhal and Hoffmeister concertos, indicating that he performed them himself. However, there is no proof that they were dedicated to him."

Viennese virtuoso Ludwig Streicher (1920-2003), gives the date of composition of Vanhal's Concerto as 1773, which neatly fits with Erich Urbanner's 1973 Concerto, both recorded in 1976 and creating a 200 year link, but there appears to be no documentary evidence to support this theory but does create a nice link between two concertos.

Klaus Trumpf, in his well researched Hofmeister edition of the concerto (1995), includes a wealth of information but often with speculation rather than fact: "...The present concerto for double bass was probably written between 1786 and 1789...Vanhal probably wrote it for Johann Matthias Sperger (1750-1812), who was also living in Vienna at this time. The solo surviving source is a contemporary copy in manuscript found in Sperger's estate: the cadenzas are in the latter's handwriting - a further indication that the concerto was written for him."

All very interesting but circumstantial evidence rather than actual proof - but at this distance it is probably the best we have.

David Sinclair, in his excellent liner notes for his recording of the Vanhal, Pichl and Hoffmeister concertos [Wiener Kontrabasskonzerte - ARS Production, 2006] writes: "...Unless a second manuscript source is discovered for the Vanhal concerto, we will never know for sure in what octave the composer originally intended many sections of his work to be played. After careful study of the sole source - Sperger's copy made by an anonymous Viennese copyist - I am convinced that almost all of the 8va markings were made by the copyist himself, and not added later, as sometimes suggested. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that they reflect Vanhal's original intentions. In a few cases, the doubtful taste of some of the 8va usage and the extreme technical difficulties which it brings seems out of place. This suggests to me that the copyist may have been working from a manuscript which had already been reworked by another virtuoso. Sperger himself added a few extra 8va passages (easily recognisable when one is familiar with his handwriting), and has simplified some of the most difficult bars - in some cases because they were hardly playable in the higher 8va. He has also made a significant change by adding 'moderato' to the allegro Finale. I have chosen to play about half of the 8va passages in the higher octave as marked, sometimes preferring the lower 8va, for example in the adagio. I have also chosen to ignore practically all of Sperger's additions, since they certainly bring us further from Vanhal's original intentions..."

The scholarship to date is fascinating, particularly from the excellent programme notes by David Sinclair, and help to give a contemporary perspective to one of the finest double bass concertos of the late 18th-century. The original Viennese tuning is obviously the easiest way to play the concerto, although having to restring and relearn the tuning adds to the problems, but this is becoming more and more common today as many adventurous players explore this repertoire with its original tuning. Playing on a modern bass in modern tuning - in C or D major - is also possible but each key has its merits and limitations.

In three movements and lasting around 20 minutes, Vanhal's Concerto for Double Bass is a work full of great music and technical challenges. The entire solo register is explored, although whether this was Vanhal's intention is unsure, and is technically more challenging than many works of the period The quality of the music is more advanced and inspired than most and here is a concerto which offers both great music for performer and audience alike. The three movements [Allegro moderato - Adagio - Finale: Allegro] are beautifully contrasting and demonstrate many of the technical and musical possibilities of the double bass throughout its solo register. The fast and virtuosic outer movements offer music which is dramatic and exciting, with a slow movement of elegant charm and beauty, producing a concerto of great musical worth and enjoyment.

We are lucky to have such a musical gem in our repertoire - "as close to Mozart as we get" were Ovidiu Badila's comments in Denmark in 2000, shortly after his excellent recording of the concerto - and two further quotes confirm the great qualities of Vanhal as a composer and possibly a composer ready for a well-deserved revival in the 21st-century - there is certainly enough music to explore.

"...In the Englishman Charles Burney's famous book on Europe's music life, published 1773-75, he comments on Vanhal's music that it is "lively, natural and artless...deserves a place among the foremost compositions in which the combination of melody, pleasing harmony and a free and manly stile is maintained - throughout." It was at this period that Vanhal wrote his double-bass concerto, so vital and beautiful, so imbued with the sound we associate with Mozart but which was fashionable at this time." [Entcho Radoukanov, 1996]

"...Paul Bryan, today's foremost Vanhal scholar [writes}... probably written in the late 1770s or early 1780s...it surpasses all of his contemporary's efforts in the genre, and remains today one of the finest works ever composed for solo bass. Vanhal's style was described by his compatriot G.F. Dlabacz as having "not only nobility and solidity, but also delicacy and melodiousness." These qualities come strikingly to the fore in this masterful concerto." [David Sinclair, 2006]

Not bad comments for a double bass piece..

prof. David EYES

SCUOLA NAPOLETANA (neapolitan school)

Thanks to TONI DEL COCO with the collaboration of GAETANO SIRAGUSA


prof. David Heyes

"The players were: 1. Robert Gladstone (member of New York Philharmonic for 10 years, then principal of Detroit Symphony for 36 years). 2. Frederick Zimmermann (assistant principal of NY Philharmonic for most of 36 years in NYP: faculty of Juilliard, Columbia, Mannes,etc.) 3. Orin O'Brien (NY Philharmonic since 1966; faculty of Juilliard, Manhattan, Mannes.) 4. Alvin Brehm (bassist, composer; faculty of Mannes, frequent NYP substitute and NY freelance bassist) - Bob, Alvin and I were all pupils of Fred Zimmermann. When Gunther asked Bob to gather together four bassists to record his composition (when it was written in 1948, some players told Gunther it was too difficult and that no one would play it), he asked us and we were thrilled at the idea of working with the composer of such an exciting, challenging work. We practiced our parts, and before we began rehearsals, Gunther asked me to make him a score because he had lost his. There was no Xerox at that time (1959) so I copied each part on a separate stave on onionskin paper, making a handwritten score, which was then reproduced at an architect's-plan- copying place. (That is how you reproduced any music in those days!) We rehearsed with each of us reading from our own copy of that score, so we could see how to coordinate with each other. Gunther has a fantastic ear and corrected and conducted us: we rehearsed on Sunday mornings which was the only time we all had free. Alvin and I were with NYC Ballet and Fred and Bob with the NY Phil. We recorded it in one 3 hour session in July of 1959, and performed it the next year in a concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. It was a concert of 4 quartets, including one for 4 celli, also by Gunther. It was a thrill to work with the composer and with my affectionate and witty colleagues who encouraged me in every way: I think of this wonderful exciting time very often."

Orin O'Brien's wonderful memories of the first recording and premiere of Gunther Schuller's Quartet for double basses, written in April 2014, really adds a new dimension to this important work in the bass quartet repertoire. The composer's manager describes it as a 'seminal' work in the composer's output, but it is also groundbreaking, in terms of what came before it and what has come afterwards.

The double bass quartet came into being in the early 1930s, although it is believed that there are some movement of a quartet by (Frantisek) Franz Simandl. Two works by Bernhard Alt and Arcady Dubensky can claim to be the first works for double bass quartet, one written for members of the Berlin Philharmonic and the other likely to be for members of the New York Philharmonic. Interestingly, both composers were orchestral violinists, Alt a member of the Berlin Philharmonic and Dubensky a member of the New York Philharmonic, each inspired to write for the medium by four enterprising bassists. Dubensky's Prelude & Fugue for double bass quartet is written for four similarly tuned basses and was completed on 16 May 1933 in New York, whereas Alt's four-movement Suite uses solo tuning for basses 1 and 2 and orchestral tuning for basses 3 and 4, giving a wider choice of key possibilities.

Gunther Schuller's Quartet was written in 1947, when the composer was only 22 years old, and only 14 years after the 'birth' of the bass quartet as a genre. Schuller's work is no mere characteristic or light-music piece, but here is a work of enormous scope and depth, which took the form and expanded every aspect in terms of technical and musical demands. He wasn't afraid to challenge the players and the retuning of movements three and four create a work like no other and this is still one of the most important works in the double bass quartet repertoire.

The composer provided the following programme note:

“The Quartet for Doublebasses was composed in 1947, with some revisions in the last movement in 1959. When presented to a well-known bass teacher and ‘virtuoso’ in 1948, it was declared unplayable and the aberrant meanderings of a French-horn playing composer who didn’t know how to write for the bass. I look upon this somewhat bemusedly today, but at the time this rejection of my labor of love on behalf of the bass fraternity and the dearth of serious bass literature depressed me considerably. But then, these things were not unusual in the 1940s – when composers more or less expected not to get performed, unlike today when one has a reasonable expectation of performance of almost any new chamber work with our hundreds of university symposia, arts festivals, and contemporary performing groups.

“In any event, my bass quartet was taken up many years later – in 1959 – by Fred Zimmerman and a group of dedicated young bass players who subsequently gave the first performance of the work under my direction in Carnegie Recital Hall in the spring of 1960. It has since been widely performed all over the world.

“The quartet is nothing more than an attempt to write a non-compromising serious piece for four basses, just as one might normally write a string quartet. It is far removed from the genre and character pieces that have weighted down the bass repertory for decades and centuries.

“The work is in three movements. The first, largely homophonic in concept, groups the four basses into various combinations (two parts, one player accompanied by the other three, etc.). It may be of interest that the initial high-register opening chord, played tremolo, is identical to the last sounds in the fourth movement of Schoenberg's Opus 16, Five Pieces for Orchestra; and in a sense, the entire bass quartet was inspired by and evolved from that single chord, which seemed to me in 1947 (and still does) such an extraordinarily daring instrumental conception for 1909, when Schoenberg's work was written.

“The second movement is a scherzo, complete with a trio (in sustained chords in double-stop harmonics). The third movement is an adagio, including a cadenza-like section featuring the first bass in the highest register, a jazz-pizzicato section, and fade-away coda.

“Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the quartet and its only truly innovational contribution is the special tuning of the basses in the second and third movements. Each bass has a different tuning, thus enabling me to avoid the endless quartel harmonies and double-stops limited to fourths and fifths that afflict so much bass literature. Perhaps the most striking example of the possibilities permitted by such retuning of the strings is the eight-part chord in harmonics in the third movement, a chord literally not possible in harmonics with the conventional tuning.”
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Gunther Schuller's Quartet for double basses is still a work to challenge performers and audiences alike. A substantial and groundbreaking work, certainly for the late 1940s, this quartet has certainly stood the test of time and was an amazing addition to the repertoire when the genre was barely more than a decade old. Possibly it needed the skill, energy and vision of a 22 year-old to challenge bassists and to demonstrate what was possible, even if it had to wait more than ten years for its premiere. My only question is why didn't someone ask the composer to write a second quartet? At the age of 88 Gunther Schuller is still composing and we only need an enterprising and enthusiastic bassist to ask.... Will it be you?

Austrian composer Robert Fuchs was one of the last of the great romantic composers and his life spanned the period from the death of Felix Mendelssohn in 1847 to the composition of Irving Berlin's Broadway song 'Blue Skies' in 1927. Fuchs was a great friend of Johannes Brahms but was completely overshadowed by the genius of his friend and, although much of his music has survived to the present day, particularly his string serenades and chamber music, he is still primarily remembered as the teacher of more famous composers such as George Enescu, Leo Fall, Erich Korngold, Gustav Mahler, Franz Schmidt, Franz Schrecker, Jean Sibelius, Hugo Wolf and Alexander von Zemlinsky.

Robert Fuchs was born in Frauental an der Laßnitz (Styria, Austria) in 1847, the youngest of thirteen children, and studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Felix Otto Dessoff and Joseph Hellmesberger amongst others. He eventually secured a teaching position there and was appointed Professor of music theory in 1875, a position he held until 1912. He was a prolific composer and was highly regarded during his lifetime but apparently did little to promote his own music, preferring a quiet life in Vienna. He had many admirers, Brahms amongst the most positive, and this from a composer who rarely praised others: ‘Fuchs is a sterling musician; everything is so polished and skilful, so charmingly invented! One is invariably delighted!’ Famous conductors of the day, including Arthur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner and Hans Richter, also championed his orchestral works but his chamber music was considered his finest work. Robert Fuchs died in Vienna in 1927 at the age of eighty.

Fuchs composed in most genres producing a varied and impressive worklist which includes three symphonies, operas, choral works, a wealth of chamber music and works for piano, organ and harp. Most of his chamber music was for strings including six sonatas for violin and piano, one sonata for viola and piano, and two sonatas for cello and piano, alongside string duos, trios and quartets. More importantly for double bassists are his Op.96 and 97, both for double bass and piano.

Three Pieces for double bass and piano Op.96 was dedicated to Professor Anton Mayr (who wrote his 'Memories of Robert Fuchs' [Erinnerungen an Robert Fuchs] in 1934) and was first published in 1913 in Vienna by Adolf Robitschek. His next opus number featured his second and final work for the instrument, a Sonata for double bass and piano which was composed in March and April 1913 and was published the same year, also in Vienna by Robitschek. Why two works for double bass when the composer apparently had no interest before or after these works for the instrument? Were they composed for a specific player? If so, why were they not dedicated to that bassist? Frantisek Simandl (1840-1912) had taught and played in Vienna for many years, as had his equally illustrious students and colleagues, so it is unlikely that Fuchs had no knowledge of the thriving double bass community in and around Vienna at this time.

Did Fuchs decide that the double bass also needed a few works for its meagre repertoire and, having already composed solo works for violin, viola and cello, it was finally the turn of the double bass? No matter, these are works of great quality which deserve to be much better known. Composed in 1912/13, just after his retirement the previous year, may also have been a deciding factor as he was 'tidying up' his list of compositions.

Robert Fuchs's Sonata for double bass and piano Op.97 is in three contrasting movements and at around fifteen minutes would fit easily into any recital programme. Anke Zimmermann writes: "...Neoclassical in conception, with Romantic vernacular, in places obviously influenced by Johannes Brahms (who was his friend and patron) and often possessing zeal in performing reminiscent of Schubert, the sonata can be called a work of the twentieth century only because of when it was composed." The influence of Brahms and Mendelssohn were never far the Fuchs musical vocabulary and his style has been described as "distinctive in a low-key way...derivative of his predecessors Schubert and Brahms, and sometimes strongly hints at the music of his pupil Mahler." (Manfred Muessauer)

The music is understated and never histrionic, but also beautifully written, although it doesn't test the technical prowess of the soloist as Adolf Misek's sonatas did a decade before. My instinct tells me that the piece was written with a composer's knowledge and experience of the double bass rather than with the input of a fine player. There are a few simple harmonics but nothing to challenge either player which may be its saving grace or downfall, although the accompaniment is far more virtuosic than the solo part. The double bass does venture into low thumb position, but for most of the time tends to sit happily in its orchestral register and is written for an instrument in orchestral tuning.

The first movement (Allegro moderato molto) is in the bright and optimistic key of B flat major with a simple and effective first theme and its syncopated rhythm acts as a unifying figure through the entire movement. Fuchs treats the double bass as he would a solo cello, the lyricism and serious intent is there from the start, and here is a composer who knows the sonorous and cantabile qualities of the double bass. The second movement (Allegro scherzando) is in the relative minor key, in ternary form, and the music is gently playful and rhythmic. The opening music contrasts an orchestral pizzicato accompaniment against music of a more lyrical and dramatic nature. The soloist dominates the trio section with a sustained and beautiful lyrical melody before the return of the opening section, ending gently and successfully as the music dies away to a tonic chord of G minor, strangely but in second inversion.

The last movement (Allegro giusto) returns to the key of B flat major and is more dramatic and energetic, but still full of great character and life. The rhythmic energy propels it along until a brief and lyrical episode interrupts the flow but quickly the music returns to its original buoyant character and the movement is propelled to the end with a strong and definite perfect cadence, bringing the music to a sudden and successful conclusion. Strangely there is no slow movement in the sonata but the three movements still work well together and there is sufficient style and contrasts to maintain interest for performers and audiences alike.

Although composed in 1913, when tonality was certainly being challenged on many fronts and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was premiered in Paris a few months after Fuchs had completed his two works for double bass, it really is from a different century and the composer was obviously happy to plough the romantic furrow that he had followed throughout his composing career, leaving the younger generation to tear down the traditions of the past. Having said that, this is still a work of great quality and beauty, and here is a composer who certainly knew his craft, but why has it not become part of the standard repertoire?

My hypothesis is that both the tessitura of the work and the use of orchestral tuning have worked against it. Bassists who have slaved away to develop a confident solo technique throughout the range of the instrument want, on the whole, to demonstrate these skills hence the popularity still of Bottesini and Koussevitsky in recitals today. Fuchs has written a work which is both sophisticated and serious, but which isn't technically too demanding and could be too easy for the greatest players but too musically challenging for the less advanced bassists.

At 102 years old what can we do to resurrect this sonata for the 21st-century? Certainly the two excellent recordings by Joel Quarrington (Modica Music MM0013) and Silvo Dalla Torre (Genuin GEN 88119) help to promote the quality of the work and my suggestion would be to 'doctor' the solo part by transposing some passages into a higher register. This would open out some of the textures and timbres which would contrast even more against the bright and breezy piano accompaniment. An even more radical solution would be to transpose the piano part a tone higher so that solo tuning can be used, possibly also changing the octaves of some solo passages?

Would this be too radical a step? I don't think so... We already use solo tuning, orchestral tuning, Viennese tuning, have basses tuned in 5ths, four string basses, five string basses, different types of strings, different tunings for 'A' and so much more. I'm certain that Robert Fuchs would have been quite relaxed about all these issues and would be delighted that after a century the music is still here, although only hanging on by a thread. My task this summer is to produce a piano accompaniment for solo tuning which will be available free of charge as a download to any bassist who is interested, or available as printed sheets for a small fee plus postage costs. Interested?

I rather like this piece and hope this short article whets the appetite of many enterprising and open-minded bassists.

David Heyes [3 June 2015]
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Since publication of the article I was very pleased to hear from Chun-Shiang Chou that both works for double bass were composed for Karl Schreinzer(1884-1960). From 1900-1904 Schreizer, who I had never heard of, studied at the Vienna Conservatoire with Frantisek Simandl and from 1913-1949 was a member of the Wiener Staatsopernorchester and.Wiener Philharmoniker, and from 1923 also Solo-Kontrabassist with the orchestra. From 1938-1950 Karl Schreinzer was Professor of Double Bass at the Vienna Music Academy.

This information was included in Alfred Planyavsky's Geschichte des Kontrabasses (Tutzing 1984.).

The internet is a wonderful way to disseminate information and correct any errors from our history. I still find it surprising that neither work was dedicated to the double bassist who commissioned them, and apart from the Planyavsky book there appears to be no other information about these pieces. Very many thanks to Chun-Shiang Chou for adding the extra information and correcting and informing my knowledge about the double bass music of Robert Fuchs.

PASSIONE AMOROSA by Giovanni Bottesini

The music of Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) is still at the very heart of the solo double bass repertoire into the 21st-century. Bottesini was known as the 'Paganini of the double bass' and spent most of his life touring as a composer, conductor and soloist, and only during the last few months of his life did he end his travels having been appointed Director of the Parma Conservatoire, at the instigation of his good friend Giuseppe Verdi.

Why is Bottesini's music still so popular? The reason is quite simple - it is beautifully written for the instrument offering both musical and technical challenges and always with great audience appeal. The lyrical pieces such as Elegia or Melodie demonstrate the lyrical and cantabile qualities of the double bass, whilst the virtuosity of the Tarantella, Grande Allegro di Concerto or Gran Duo Concertante allow the soloist to display a proficient technical command of the entire instrument. Alongside the solo repertoire are a number of duos which feature two double basses, also works for solo bass with cello, clarinet or violin - each combining Bottesini's bel canto credentials and heritage, technical mastery of the double bass, and often composed with a specific player in mind.

Bottesini composed at least six original works for two double basses, all thought to have been written during his studies at the Milan Conservatoire (1835-39) or in the years afterwards. This was probably the only time that Bottesini performed with another bassist during his long and illustrious career and Giovanni Arpesani (1820-1855), a fellow student at the conservatoire, was his duo partner at the time [Also documented as Luigi Arpesani]. The duo performed together in 1844 at the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice, according to the biographer Gaspare Nello Vetro, but there is no mention of a performance of the Passione Amorosa. Although still at the beginning of his career, Bottesini would have been steeped in the early 19th-century Italian opera of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti amongst others, and much of his music encapsulates the drama, passion and bravura of the opera house. Many of his manuscripts survive around the world, but he was far from scrupulous about documenting dates or other crucial information on the scores. One work which survives, although an original manuscript has yet to come to light, is the wonderful Passione Amorosa for two double basses and piano. Now available in a wealth of arrangements and transcriptions, this is both player and audience friendly and full of great melodies and fun.

In three lively and contrasting movements and lasting only about ten minutes, the Passione Amorosa is essentially a mini-opera for a soprano and tenor soloist but portrayed by two virtuosic and serenading double bassists. The technical challenges are much simpler than in the Gran Duo Concertante, which was originally for two double basses and piano, but is better known today in its incarnation for violin, double bass and orchestra. Passione Amorosa is lively and full of high spirits and drama, with the feel of a young and developing composer about it, whose aim was to create a piece which is great for the soloists and also for the audience. There are no hidden depths here, just youthful and energetic music and a composer who is displaying his extensive knowledge of the solo technique entwined with the operatic styles of the day.

It was probably composed in the early 1840s but was forgotten for almost a century until a performance at London's Wigmore Hall on 15 April 1926, but with a new accompaniment. Edinburgh-born Victor Watson (1886-1963) was known as 'the Master' in the music profession and was a regular double bass soloist during the early years of his career. He commissioned and performed a number of solos and his recital at London's Wigmore Hall in 1926 featured no fewer than four premieres of British works, alongside the first UK performance of the Dragonetti-Nanny Concerto, published in Paris the year before, and the 'first performance' of the Duet for DoubleBasses by Bottesini. Performed by bassists Victor Watson and Herbert Lodge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC98Pl6LzaU) with pianist Sidney Crooke, the concert programme failed to mention that the new piano accompaniment was by the British composer and conductor Ernest Irving (1878-1953). The manuscript is titled 'Duet. / for two Double-Basses soli. / Composed by / Bottesini. / The missing accompaniment for pianoforte or Orchestra / Imagined by / K.Ernest Irving.' The solo parts are the ones we know and play today, with a few small changes, but somewhere in its history Bottesini's original accompaniment was lost or unknown. My theory is that it was still in existence in a library or collection but a copy of the solo parts had been used and disseminated amongst bassists and the whereabouts of the piano score had been forgotten over the years.

Today's published version of the Passione Amorosa is probably the original accompaniment by Bottesini - it has the sound and feel of the young composer and soloist and is in a similar style and idiom of much of his later works. The English double bassist and teacher A.C. White (1830-1902) had an extensive collection of music, including a copy of the manuscript of Bottesini's Duo for clarinet, double bass and orchestra, and it is likely that he owned one of the few copies of the work that we now know as Passione Amorosa. Was it originally called 'Duet' and rechristened at a later date? I have no evidence to support this, but am certain this was the case. Bottesini's titles were far more matter of fact and usually said exactly what the piece was, but the title of Passione Amorosa is far more descriptive and wonderfully evocative and unlike any of his other titles.

Whatever its history, this is still a great piece. Bottesini was certainly experimenting with the range and tessitura of the double bass, creating a 19th-century melodrama with passages of high drama, great lyricism, passion, virtuosity and sheer joie de vivre. It would have been written for double basses with three strings, which is a useful way to determine the fingerings that Bottesini would have used for the more technical passages, and each player was tested both musically and technically. It was probably unlike anything else composed to that date and even today is a revelation to audiences, particularly the arpeggio and harmonic accompaniment by bass 1 and the lyrical melody of bass 1 in the second movement of the piece. It has been published a number of times - Doblinger (Rudolf Malaric), Yorke Edition (Rodney Slatford), Hofmeister Edition (Klaus Trumpf) and IMC (Stuart Sankey) - each offering something a little different, and is also available for violin and double bass, double bass quartet, double basses and string quartet/orchestra. It has been recorded for cello and double bass, or violin and double bass, and lends itself to many ensemble combinations or forces, and is always a great success. Surely the sign of a good piece of music.

Is this great music? Certainly not, but it does tick every box and will be performed and loved as long as Bottesini's name is still known and revered in the double bass world. A classic of our repertoire which is well worth the effort.

David Heyes [8 June 2015]

"Early in January 1945, musical circles all over Russia celebrated the seventieth birthday of Reinhold Gliere, Chairman of the Union of Soviet composers, and one of the most influential teachers of modern times. Telegrams from all over the world, from such conductors as Stokowski and such artists as Heifetz, greeted the "Father of Soviet Composers," as he is generally known, for his great reputation as a teacher is apt to overshadow his genius as a composer... When the musical historians of the future review the twentieth century, it will probably be found that Gliere's greatest service to his art was in his work as a teacher of composition. He has always possessed a remarkable power of drawing out the real genius in his pupils and of inspiring them with all the best traditions of Russian music. Such brilliant composers as Prokofiev, Khachaturian and Miaskovsky all studied with him." [Donald Brook, London 1946]

Although Gliere may have been an important teacher he is still a significant and well performed composer today. Not as important or innovative as Prokofiev or Shostakovich perhaps, but much of his musical output is still known and performed into the 21st-century. His 3rd Symphony 'Ilya Muromets' Op.42, a mammoth and extravagant work of huge romantic influences and proportions, is probably his most performed work alongside his four concertos for harp, coloratura soprano, french horn and cello. Double bassists know Gliere for two works - 8 Pieces Op.39 for violin and cello, arranged for violin or viola and double bass by Frank Proto, and four pieces for double bass and piano, composed for the great Serge Koussevitsky (1874-1951).

The names of Koussevitsky and Gliere are inextricably linked in the double bass world. There has been much speculation over the years that Gliere helped Koussevitsky write his Concerto in F# minor for Double Bass, or even composed the work himself, but it is more than likely that any help from Gliere was limited to help with orchestration rather than composition, if at all. The works of Gliere have the mark of a master composer and orchestrator whilst the works of Koussevitsky have the feel of a great double bass player rather than a great composer. When Koussevitsky left Russia to pursue his career, firstly as a virtuoso double bassist and secondly as a conductor, Gliere remained in the newly transformed Soviet Union becoming one of the leading Soviet composers and teachers of his generation - both eminently successful in their own fields.

Reinhold Gliere was born in Kiev, Ukraine on 11 January 1875 and studied at the Kiev School of Music before being offered a place at the Moscow Conservatoire where he studied with Taneyev (counterpoint), Ippolitov-Ivanov (composition), Jan Hřímalý (violin), Arensky and Conus (harmony). He graduated in 1900 and from 1905-8 studied conducting with Oskar Fried in Berlin. One of his fellow students was Serge Koussevitzky, who conducted the premiere of Glière's Symphony No. 2, Op. 25, on 23 January 1908 in Berlin, a work dedicated to the conductor-bassist. In 1913 Gliere joined the teaching staff of the newly created Kiev Music Conservatoire and the following year became it's Director. In 1920 he was appointed Professor of Composition at the Moscow Conservatoire and remained there until his retirement in 1941.

"Gliere has for years enjoyed the high esteem of his fellow countrymen. He holds many honours, including the title "People's Artist of the Soviet Union", the Order of the Red Banner, the Soviet Order of Merit, and so forth. The degree of Doctor of Sciences (Research in Art) was conferred upon him some years ago. He is a man of great intellect and personal charm, and is an important social figure in the greater cities of the Soviet Union." [Donald Brook, 1946]

In 1938 Gliere was appointed Chairman of the USSR Composers Union organising committee, a post he held until 1948, and his many honours and official duties imply a composer who worked with the system rather than against it. At a time when many of his fellow composers were denounced by Stalin for 'formalism', Gliere's name was nowhere to be seen, and he seemed never to have fallen out of favour with the state. From 1948 onwards, as his health declined, he spent much of his time at the Moscow Union of Soviet Composers' rest and recreation resort at Ivanovo, where the older generation tended to gather, and he died in Moscow on 23 June 1956.

Gliere's works for double bass were composed in the early years of the 20th-century and although nowadays are often programmed as 'Four Pieces', they were actually composed as two sets with six years dividing them. The first two pieces were published as 'Deux morceaux' Op.9 for double bass and piano and were dedicated 'A Monsieur S.Koussewitsky'. They were composed in 1902, after Gliere's graduation from the Moscow Conservatoire but before his conducting studies began in Berlin three years later. Gliere and Koussevitsky both lived and worked in Moscow at this time and it is likely their paths crossed on many occasions and the great virtuoso probably asked his friend for some new pieces for his burgeoning solo career, both at home and abroad. Gliere's Intermezzo (Op.9, No.1) and Tarantella (Op.9, No.2) were published by P. Jurgenson (Moscow/Leipzig) and the original typeset publications are the ones still in use today. Both pieces are in solo tuning and demonstrate the great technical skills of composer and performer alike. Gliere rose to the challenge magnificently and it is more than likely that Koussevitsky advised on the technical possibilities of the double bass, producing virtuoso pieces which are still a 'tour de force' even today.

'Deux Pieces' Op.32 followed in 1908, also published by P. Jurgenson, and dedicated to 'A Mr. S.Koussewitsky'. The Prelude (Op.32, No.1) and Scherzo (Op.32, No.2) follow the same pattern as the previous two - a slow and lyrical piece followed by a fast virtuosic showpiece, but both require an advanced and confident technique across the solo register of the double bass. Today the four pieces are usually performed or recorded together as a suite with Op.32 played first and followed by Op.9. They work well in pairs or as a suite and demonstrate how far the double bass had travelled since Bottesini's death in 1889. The great Italian virtuoso had changed and expanded the double bass technique and repertoire more than anyone in the 19th-century, but Gliere's pieces push the boundaries of technical accomplishment even further.

Each of the four pieces has its own unique character and set of challenges and demonstrate the great solo potential of the double bass, both lyrical and virtuosic, confirming a wonderful and successful collaboration between composer and bassist. Written at the start of Gliere's career, these are characteristic pieces of the first rank and are probably more popular today than ever before. It is easy to speculate how great a Gliere Double Bass Concerto would have been if Koussevitsky had remained in the Soviet Union... but we should be grateful that Gliere was inspired enough to produce four amazing pieces for double bass and piano. Great music and still exciting after more than a century confirming that quality and excellence win every time.

David Heyes [1 April 2015]

by prof. DAVID HEYES

"The players were: 1. Robert Gladstone (member of New York Philharmonic for 10 years, then principal of Detroit Symphony for 36 years). 2. Frederick Zimmermann (assistant principal of NY Philharmonic for most of 36 years in NYP: faculty of Juilliard, Columbia, Mannes,etc.) 3. Orin O'Brien (NY Philharmonic since 1966; faculty of Juilliard, Manhattan, Mannes.) 4. Alvin Brehm (bassist, composer; faculty of Mannes, frequent NYP substitute and NY freelance bassist) - Bob, Alvin and I were all pupils of Fred Zimmermann. When Gunther asked Bob to gather together four bassists to record his composition (when it was written in 1948, some players told Gunther it was too difficult and that no one would play it), he asked us and we were thrilled at the idea of working with the composer of such an exciting, challenging work. We practiced our parts, and before we began rehearsals, Gunther asked me to make him a score because he had lost his. There was no Xerox at that time (1959) so I copied each part on a separate stave on onionskin paper, making a handwritten score, which was then reproduced at an architect's-plan- copying place. (That is how you reproduced any music in those days!) We rehearsed with each of us reading from our own copy of that score, so we could see how to coordinate with each other. Gunther has a fantastic ear and corrected and conducted us: we rehearsed on Sunday mornings which was the only time we all had free. Alvin and I were with NYC Ballet and Fred and Bob with the NY Phil. We recorded it in one 3 hour session in July of 1959, and performed it the next year in a concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. It was a concert of 4 quartets, including one for 4 celli, also by Gunther. It was a thrill to work with the composer and with my affectionate and witty colleagues who encouraged me in every way: I think of this wonderful exciting time very often."

Orin O'Brien's wonderful memories of the first recording and premiere of Gunther Schuller's Quartet for double basses, written in April 2014, really adds a new dimension to this important work in the bass quartet repertoire. The composer's manager describes it as a 'seminal' work in the composer's output, but it is also groundbreaking, in terms of what came before it and what has come afterwards.

The double bass quartet came into being in the early 1930s, although it is believed that there are some movement of a quartet by (Frantisek) Franz Simandl. Two works by Bernhard Alt and Arcady Dubensky can claim to be the first works for double bass quartet, one written for members of the Berlin Philharmonic and the other likely to be for members of the New York Philharmonic. Interestingly, both composers were orchestral violinists, Alt a member of the Berlin Philharmonic and Dubensky a member of the New York Philharmonic, each inspired to write for the medium by four enterprising bassists. Dubensky's Prelude & Fugue for double bass quartet is written for four similarly tuned basses and was completed on 16 May 1933 in New York, whereas Alt's four-movement Suite uses solo tuning for basses 1 and 2 and orchestral tuning for basses 3 and 4, giving a wider choice of key possibilities.

Gunther Schuller's Quartet was written in 1947, when the composer was only 22 years old, and only 14 years after the 'birth' of the bass quartet as a genre. Schuller's work is no mere characteristic or light-music piece, but here is a work of enormous scope and depth, which took the form and expanded every aspect in terms of technical and musical demands. He wasn't afraid to challenge the players and the retuning of movements three and four create a work like no other and this is still one of the most important works in the double bass quartet repertoire.

The composer provided the following programme note:

“The Quartet for Doublebasses was composed in 1947, with some revisions in the last movement in 1959. When presented to a well-known bass teacher and ‘virtuoso’ in 1948, it was declared unplayable and the aberrant meanderings of a French-horn playing composer who didn’t know how to write for the bass. I look upon this somewhat bemusedly today, but at the time this rejection of my labor of love on behalf of the bass fraternity and the dearth of serious bass literature depressed me considerably. But then, these things were not unusual in the 1940s – when composers more or less expected not to get performed, unlike today when one has a reasonable expectation of performance of almost any new chamber work with our hundreds of university symposia, arts festivals, and contemporary performing groups.

“In any event, my bass quartet was taken up many years later – in 1959 – by Fred Zimmerman and a group of dedicated young bass players who subsequently gave the first performance of the work under my direction in Carnegie Recital Hall in the spring of 1960. It has since been widely performed all over the world.

“The quartet is nothing more than an attempt to write a non-compromising serious piece for four basses, just as one might normally write a string quartet. It is far removed from the genre and character pieces that have weighted down the bass repertory for decades and centuries.

“The work is in three movements. The first, largely homophonic in concept, groups the four basses into various combinations (two parts, one player accompanied by the other three, etc.). It may be of interest that the initial high-register opening chord, played tremolo, is identical to the last sounds in the fourth movement of Schoenberg's Opus 16, Five Pieces for Orchestra; and in a sense, the entire bass quartet was inspired by and evolved from that single chord, which seemed to me in 1947 (and still does) such an extraordinarily daring instrumental conception for 1909, when Schoenberg's work was written.

“The second movement is a scherzo, complete with a trio (in sustained chords in double-stop harmonics). The third movement is an adagio, including a cadenza-like section featuring the first bass in the highest register, a jazz-pizzicato section, and fade-away coda.

“Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the quartet and its only truly innovational contribution is the special tuning of the basses in the second and third movements. Each bass has a different tuning, thus enabling me to avoid the endless quartel harmonies and double-stops limited to fourths and fifths that afflict so much bass literature. Perhaps the most striking example of the possibilities permitted by such retuning of the strings is the eight-part chord in harmonics in the third movement, a chord literally not possible in harmonics with the conventional tuning.”
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Gunther Schuller's Quartet for double basses is still a work to challenge performers and audiences alike. A substantial and groundbreaking work, certainly for the late 1940s, this quartet has certainly stood the test of time and was an amazing addition to the repertoire when the genre was barely more than a decade old. Possibly it needed the skill, energy and vision of a 22 year-old to challenge bassists and to demonstrate what was possible, even if it had to wait more than ten years for its premiere. My only question is why didn't someone ask the composer to write a second quartet? At the age of 88 Gunther Schuller is still composing and we only need an enterprising and enthusiastic bassist to ask.... Will it be you?

David Heyes (7 May 2014)

[My thanks to Orin O'Brien for her memories of the first recording and premiere of the Schuller Quartet and for allowing me to include them in this

During the first five or six decades of the 20th-century the Paris Conservatoire helped to create a wealth of music for double bass - each year a French composer was commissioned to write a piece for the graduating bassists to perform in their final recital. The works, on the whole, were published by Alphonse Leduc et Cie. in Paris and the result is a treasure trove of music written in a wide range of styles and idioms. Obviously not every one is a gem, but a number really st...and out and have rightly taken their place in the repertoire. One work, however, which has fallen by the wayside is by the French composer and organist Charles Tournemire.

Never heard of Tournemire? If you are an organist you will have, but if not he will probably be completely unknown to you. Tournemire composed an amazing array of works for organ, notably 'L'Orgue Mystique', lasting about 15 hours, containing a group of 51 sets of five pieces each written between 1927 and 1932. The collection covers the cycle of the Roman Catholic liturgical year, each set being based on the Gregorian chants for the day and were designed exclusively for church use rather than for the concert hall. Alongside the organ music there are operas, 8 symphonies, choral works, songs, chamber and piano music - he was far from idle. Unfortunately is music has been completely overshadowed by the likes of Debussy and Ravel, but he did pave the way for composers such as Messaien and Duruflé.

Charles Tournemire was born in Bordeaux on 22 January 1870 and was appointed organist of the church of St. Pierre in Bordeaux at the age of 11. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with César Franck and Charles-Marie Widor,and later with Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum. In 1898 Tournemire succeeded Gabriel Pierné as organist in St. Clotilde, a post he held for the rest of his life. His early music was obviously inspired by his teachers but this began to change and is beautifully described by Rovi Staff. "The Franck-inspired idiom that had sustained Tournemire to that time began to give way to a more complex harmonic texture that incorporated some degree of impressionistic harmony. This style began to deepen in 1908 after Tournemire married the sister of the wife of Josephin "Sâr" Péladan, a French mystic who was the founder of the Ordre de Rose-Croix in Paris. Tournemire also began to read the works of Joris-Karl Huysmans, and through Péladan, took an interest in Madame Blavatsky. Tournemire's music reflected these discoveries through his arrival at a distinct "mystical" organ style, which had a decisive impact on the French organ school exemplified by such figures as Messaien, Jehan Alain, Duruflé and Jean Langlais."

Tournemire was appointed Professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire, but the Great War had brought about cultural and musical changes and he soon found himself out of step with the times of Les Six and Stravinsky. His masterpiece was surely 'L'orgue mystique' which includes about 15 hours of music, longer than the complete organ works of J.S. Bach, and took five years to complete. He was also known for his magnificent organ improvisations and several were recorded and later transcribed by Maurice Duruflé .

Todd McComb succinctly describes his musical style as "...always deeply serious, making use of the chorale as did Franck, and extended ideas on sonority originating with Claude Debussy. He was among the first composers to begin looking at modes from other cultures (notably India), and his music makes effective use of this polymodality. His music is thoroughly French in idiom, though he continued Franck's efforts to incorporate harmonic ideas from the great German composers of the period."

Charles Tournemire died on 3 or 4 November 1939 in mysterious circumstances. Rovi Staff writes: " ...he left his home to take a walk on October 31, 1939 and never returned; four days later his body was found in a bog outside of Archachon, quite some distance from where he started out. The suggestion that he may have committed suicide seemed impossible for such a staunchly Catholic mystic, and the latest information suggests that Tournemire may have become disoriented, lost his way and drowned by accident."

'Recit et Allegro' was Charles Tournemire's only work for double bass, was composed for the 'Concours du Conservatoire National de Musique' in 1935, and published shortly afterwards by Editions Musicales Buffet-Crampon. The company still exists today and was established in Paris in 1825 by Denis Buffet Auger and, although they appear to have published music, they are particularly known for manufacturing woodwind instruments. Their website states: "1825 - The French instrument maker Denis Buffet Auger sets up his workshop in the heart of Paris, at 20 Passage du Grand Cerf. He rapidly becomes well-known in the musical community by producing excellent 13-key clarinets...1836 - Jean-Louis Buffet, Denis’ son, marries Zoe Crampon in 1836 and creates the famous Buffet Crampon brand name." The first publication of Tournemire's 'Recit et Allegro' bears the names of the publisher and, more than a century after the workshop was established, the company were still in the same premises.

'Recit et Allegro' is dedicated to Edouard Nanny (1875-1942), the important, influential and revered professor of double bass at the Paris Conservatoire for over 20 years, as were many works in the 1920s and 30s. Composed towards the end of Tournemire's life and, having completed his eight imposing and impressive symphonies and his mammoth set of organ works, here is a composer at the very height of his compositional powers and with a lifetime of experience as composer, performer and teacher. It is more than likely that Nanny had worked with the Tournemire to help create a double bass part which was idiomatic for the instrument.

In one extended movement but in well defined sections, the piece is confident and direct combining a solo part which features musical and technical challenges, with an accompaniment which is colourful and inventive but also providing a strong support. The entire solo register is explored and Tournemire wrote a piece which was both serious in content and intent, completely understanding the possibilities and challenges of the solo double bass. Arco and pizzicato are used, also a few double stops and harmonics, which are to be expected from a competition piece, and there is a freedom and rhapsodic nature to the piece which would certainly test the musicianship of the soloist. Here is a work where both instruments are important and equal, each voice has something different to contribute with the contrasting music of the two instruments creating an impressive work which has been unjustly neglected. 'Recit et Allegro' is well worth the effort and deserves to take its place in the solo repertoire alongside the works of Serventi, Desenclos and others who contributed to the Paris Conservatoire repertoire.

Why isn't this better known? I would suggest several reasons. Firstly, much of Charles Tournemire's music has been forgotten, apart from the organ music, and although he was a distinguished, talented and prolific composer, Debussy and Ravel are greater composers. Secondly, the work was published by Editions Musicales Buffet-Crampon and not by Alphonse Leduc and possibly went out of print very quickly, languishing in a catalogue which included no other works for double bass. Did Tournemire have a publishing contract with Buffet-Crampon? With hindsight he chose the wrong publisher and for most of the 20th-century Leduc had a solid reputation for publishing much music for double bass. There is also possibly a third reason why the piece has been forgotten and that is the lack of an opus number. Every catalogue of Tournemire's works only includes works with an opus number, so there are probably a number of pieces which are never included in these work lists, or are unknown to the compiler, adding to the neglect of a fine work. In 1934/5 Charles Tournemire's music was probably already considered old fashioned as Poulenc, Milhaud, Stravinsky were making their mark, and the Second World War also cleared away much that had gone before.

Now eighty years old, maybe it is time for 'Recit et Allegro' to be added to the solo bass repertoire. It deserves a second chance and I hope this short article with give the kiss of life to a piece which is far from dead, only slumbering....

David Heyes [24 June 2015]

Many thanks to Andrew Kohn for drawing my attention to 'Recit et Allegro' by Charles Tournemire and for also providing a copy of the double bass piece by Charles Loeffler which was dedicated to Serge Koussevitsky. by prof. David Heyes

 V.F. Verrimst - Au Clair de la Lune Variations

The history of the double bass duo dates back to the late 1830s with the 3 Gran Duetti by Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889), composed during Bottesini's studies at the Milan Conservatoire and dedicated to his teacher, Luigi Rossi. The double bass quartet is almost a century younger and began in 1933 with two works - a Suite by Bernhard Alt (1903-1945) for bassists in the Berlin Philharmonic, and a Prelude & Fugue in E minor by Arcady Dubensky (1890-1966), probably for colleagues in the New York Philharmonic. The double bass trio came into being somewhere between the two and, although its history is longer, the trio has never been as popular as the quartet, although there are some wonderfully imaginative and inventive works in the repertoire but mostly composed during the last sixty years. Similarly the string trio is not as popular as the string quartet and the musical possibilities of four musical lines is obviously more appealing to composers than three, which at its most basic consists of a melody, bass and harmony line. As far as can be ascertained, the very first double bass trio was probably composed in the 1880s or early 1890s by the French double bassist and composer, V.F. Verrimst (1825-1893), who was Bottesini's almost exact contemporary, and is still in print.

Of Belgian descent, Victor Frédéric Verrimst was born in Paris on 29 November 1825 and studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louis François Chaft (double bass), Antoine Elwart (harmony) and Simon Leborne (counterpoint). He worked as a double bassist at the Opéra-Comique and later the Paris Opera and at the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. Alongside his double bass duties he was also choirmaster of the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas and, from 1860, organist at the Church of St. Bernard.

Verrimst was also Professor of Double Bass at the Paris Conservatoire and composed a number of works for the instrument, including a 'Methode de Contre-basse a quatre cordes' which was dedicated to the memory of M. Chaft, his Professor at the Conservatoire, and was also approved for use there. Completed in 1865 it was written for a four-stringed double bass tuned in fourths (EADG) and the preface comments that at the time the double bass in France was more likely to be a three-stringed instrument tuned in fourths (GDA), or with G as the lowest string. Verrimst was certainly ahead of his time advocating the four-stringed double bass, which wasn't settled in Britain until the early years of the 20th-century. He also produced a 'Solfège du Contre-Bassiste Op.129' in 1885, which featured studies in all positions and keys, with the optional accompaniment of a double bass, and each scale is followed by a study in that key. His solo works for double bass included 'Cinq Morceaux de Concours', with piano accompaniment and were obviously written for his students at the Conservatoire.

Verrimst composed church music and works for piano, voice and violin, although unfortunately nothing seems to have survived in the repertoire to the present day. He was famous enough, however, for a conservatory choir to be named after him around fifteen years ago in the town of Houilles, where he died on 16 January 1893. 'Le chœur d'adultes Victor-Frédéric Verrimst' is led by Dominique Bessett and a web page includes a photograph of Verrimst and the description: "The conservatory adult choir is named after a famous composer in his time. Academician, Professor at the Paris Conservatory and holder of several organ posts in Paris, he was also a musician in the orchestra of Napoleon III." Not bad for a double bassist who died more than a century ago and great credit to the choir for keeping his name alive into the 21st-century.

Verrimst's only work for double bass trio, probably the first to be written, was dedicated to Frantisek [Franz] Simandl (1840-1912) and first published as part of Book 1 of his 'High School for Double Bass' by C.F. Schmidt in Germany. His 'Air Populaire - Au clair de la lune, attributed to Lully' is a theme and seven variations based on the popular melody, which he had also arranged for voice and piano in 'Chansons populaires, chants patriotiques' a book of 43 traditional and popular songs, published in Paris in 1876. The version for double bass trio was published in score format and has an educational dimension and more than likely would have been written for his students in Paris. The variations are inventive and interesting, introducing a number of skills and styles, including pizzicato, harmonics played in the lower positions alongside useful ensemble study, and is still excellent teaching material today. Written for the four-stringed double bass, the variations make effective use of the orchestral register of the instrument and, although based on an existing melody, this is an original work which is still worthy of performance today.

'Air Populaire' is based on a sixteen bar opening introduction (Andante) with the original theme introduced by bass 1 in 1st position and in the home key of G major. Basses 2 and 3 contrast this with a more rhythmic and harmonically interesting accompaniment but in the lower register of the instrument. Each variation follows directly on from the previous one and is always sixteen bars in length. The melody is divided between all three players and each variation has its own distinct character and style, offering opportunities to be the soloist, the bass or a harmony line, and this is a fun piece which is playable by intermediate bassists with few technical or music challenges.

Verrimst successfully captures the bucolic and rumbustious side of the instrument, with nothing to frighten an audience, and this would be a enjoyable and lively addition to any school concert or for bassists of a youth orchestra who are asked to provide some entertainment at short notice. Ideal to develop many playing skills, it still ticks all the boxes and is worthy of still being in print well over a century after it was composed. Why compose for double bass trio? There is no documentation to confirm why Verrimst wrote for trio but, in my own experience, composers tend to write for the instrumental forces at hand and it is likely that his class in Paris included three students at about the same technical level and hence the bass trio was born. As simple as that...

Today's extensive double bass trio repertoire stems from this simple and effective work. Although Verrimst didn't push any musical or technical boundaries it helped composers and players to see this as a viable chamber ensemble. Composers who have taken up the challenge over the past century include Adolf Misek, Jan Rychlik, Stefan Poradowski, William Sydeman, John Walton, Erich Hartmann, Miloslav Gajdos, Tony Osborne, Simon Garcia, Teppo Hauta-aho, John Alexander and many more. 'Mighty oaks from little acorns grow' as they say...

David Heyes [10 July 2015]

Peteris Vasks - Bass Trip for unaccompanied double bass


Over the past 200 years the double bass repertoire has been written and expanded by composers who play the instrument and those who do not. Some modern composers such as Teppo Hauta-aho, Frank Proto, Francois Rabbath, Tony Osborne and Simon Garcia have composed a wealth of music for the instrument and are happy to be defined as bassist-composers, but others who are also bassists, write a relatively small amount of music for their instrument. The Latvian composer Peteris Vasks is a good example of the latter and, although he began life as a double bassist, has only composed two solo works for the instrument. His Sonata and Bass Trip, both for unaccompanied double bass, were obviously written by a composer with an 'inside knowledge' of the instrument and its capabilities, and both have entered the repertoire and rightly so.

Peteris Vasks is a prolific and successful composer and was born on 16 April 1946 in Aizpute in Latvia. His musical education began at the local music school in Aizpute, where he produced his first compositions, and he studied double bass at the Emīls Dārziņš Music School in Riga from 1959-64. Vasks continued his double bass studies with Vytautas Sereika at the Lithuanian Conservatoire in Vilnius until 1970, having already been a member of various symphony and chamber orchestras including the Latvian Philharmonic Orchestra (1966-69), Lithuanian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (1969-70) and the Latvian Radio and Television Orchestra (1971-74). From 1973 to 1978 he studied composition with Valentin Utkin at the Latvian Music Academy in Riga and in the following years he was a music teacher in Salacgrīva, Zvejniekciems and Jelgava.

"During the Soviet period, Vasks suffered under the repressions of Russian cultural doctrine due to his beliefs and artistic convictions, but the Latvian composer’s works have swiftly achieved widespread recognition during the past few years. Choral music of major importance within Vasks Œuvre. His instrumental works are performed around the world by renowned musicians and frequently used by choreographers.
Vasks's compositions incorporate archaic, folklore elements from Latvian music and place them within a dynamic and challenging relationship with the language of contemporary music. The works are frequently given programmatic titles based on natural processes. Vasks’ intentions are however not so much a purely poetic praise of nature or showy tone painting, but rather the pursuit of themes such as the complex interaction between man and nature and the beauty of life on the one hand but also the imminent ecological and moral destruction of the world which he expresses in musical language. Frequent reference is made to his personal biography and the recent history of suffering on the part of the Latvian people.The brass quintet 'Music for Fleeting Birds' composed in 1977 can be understood as the yearning hope for freedom of travel which at that time was not permitted by the Soviet occupation, whereas the 'Musica dolorosa' for strings dating from the year 1983 describes the extremely personal and intense mourning on the death of his sister. " [Schott Music]

Peteris Vasks has only written two solo works for double bass to date - a Sonata in 1986 and Bass Trip in 2002/3. Bass Trip was commissioned for the 2003 ARD Music Competition in Munich and was premiered in that city by Roman Patkolo on 5 September 2003, and published the following year by Edition Schott. Lasting around ten minutes and in one extended movement, this could have been used as a competition piece had it not been written expressly for this purpose. It is written by a composer who knows what is possible on the double bass and, as any competition work requires, includes many technical challenges which exploit the possibilities and characteristics of the solo double bass.

Vasks employs a range of demands on the player, but always within a musical framework, and makes great use of double stops across the range of the instrument. Faster and more rhythmic sections contrast the slower chordal music, with more dramatic and impassioned writing in the higher registers. and here is a composer who is not afraid to test the technical prowess of the player. Vasks may be of the 20th-century with a musical vocabulary which is certainly contemporary, but Bass Tripalso illustrates the musical, lyrical and cantabile qualities of the double bass, with much to challenge but also much to savour. I doubt this could have been written by a non-bassist and is a worthy addition to the modern repertoire for unaccompanied double bass. Having tested a range of musical and technical skills, the coda employs an even more frightening one - when the bassist has to sing or whistle a melody with a pizzicato accompaniment. It can be sung or whistled 'in an octave suitable for the musician' and adds another dimension to the many and varied skills of the bassist. In the style of a waltz, the melody is simple and effective, often moving step-wise, and returns the piece to the relative tonality of D minor, where it began. The accompaniment works well to support the melody, creating a unique ending to an already amazing piece. Bass Trip is for the advanced bassist, although many aspects of it are also playable and accessible to the developing intermediate player, and is a worthy addition to the solo repertoire. Peteris Vasks has used his extensive talents as both a bassist and composer to create a work of great imagination and skill, with musical and technical challenges which are equal, and is worthy of the effort required to perform it.

How far has the solo double bass developed from the unaccompanied waltzes by Domenico Dragonetti? How much further can it go? These are exciting times for the double bass community and possibly another one or two pieces from the pen of Peteris Vasks would certainly add to the quality of the repertoire and help to push things along. Highly recommended.

by prof. DAVID HEYES
www.recitalmusic.net

THOMAS MARTIN says:

"We all must thank you, Dear Vito, for your tireless work for all of us bassists!"  You are doing so much for your colleagues and your art.

prof.dr. Vito Domenico Liuzzi "Doctor of Law" -"Magna cum Laude"

dr. Vito Liuzzi
dr. Vito Liuzzi

TRANSLATOR

"Andante Affettuoso" di ROSANNA CARNEVALE

Ricordando Giuseppe Maria MARANGONI (1866-1945) "Anna e Pietro si lasciano andare in una esecuzione sul filo della memoria di una musica ormai totalmente interiorizzata e si guardano, di tratto in tratto, in una straordinaria muta conversazione d'intenti.

DOMINIK WAGNER

The fist CD of this great talent
The fist CD of this great talent

DIEGO ZECHARIES

"A TRIBUTE TO TEPPO" - Teppo Hauta-aho "THE KING" by Nbbrecords

DAN STYFFE "Octophonia" NEW CD

THIERRY BARBE'

CATALIN ROTARU or "The PAGANINI of the DOUBLE BASS"

MAURICIO ANNUNZIATA & ALL HIS COMPOSITIONS for Doublebass and Orchestra (piano reduction) - FREE DOWNLOAD

Click on the image for the free download
Click on the image for the free download

MARCOS MACHADO & His New Book (VOL.1) for The Left Hand. HR!

SPERGER DUO - "Sonatas for Double Bass and Piano" with PILIP JARO & Xénia Jarovà

GOLDBERG VARIATIONS

PINO ETTORRE

LEON BOSH

BOTTESINI

ALBERTO BOCINI

DAN STYFFE

DAXUN ZHANG

MARCOS MACHADO

METAMORFORA
METAMORFORA

JOEL QUARRINGTON

Garden Scene
Garden Scene

ORAZIO FERRARI

Pino Ettorre plays Gasparo da Salò on Youtube or here !!!

MICHAEL WOLF

MICHAEL WOLF BOOK, if you like click on to Schott Edition
MICHAEL WOLF BOOK, if you like click on to Schott Edition

 

PIERMARIO MURELLI

PIERMARIO MURELLI - "Nuova didattica per contrabbasso " Ed. RICORDI

ALFREDO TREBBI

ALFREDO TREBBI - Novissimo manuale semiserio per contrabbasso (click on the picture above to read more)
ALFREDO TREBBI - Novissimo manuale semiserio per contrabbasso (click on the picture above to read more)

RICCARDO CROTTI

GEIRD REINKE

BOGUSLAW FURTOK

ENRICO FAGONE

IRINA KALINA GOUDEVA

MICHAEL KLINGHOFFER

ALFRED PLANIAVSKY

MAURIZIO TURRIZIANI

THE BASS GANG

Thomas Martin & Timothy Cobb

SILVIA MATTEI

HR
HR

THE BASS SONORITY

THE BASS SONORITY: Vito Liuzzi, Michele Cellaro, Vincenzo Chiapperini, Leonardo Presicci, Giuseppe Lillo, Giovanni Rinaldi
THE BASS SONORITY: Vito Liuzzi, Michele Cellaro, Vincenzo Chiapperini, Leonardo Presicci, Giuseppe Lillo, Giovanni Rinaldi

DONOVAN STOKES

STEFANO SCODANIBBIO

Dead in Macerata at 55 years old

CATALIN ROTARU

FEDERICO BAGNASCO

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO BUY
CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO BUY

ALFREDO TREBBI

Lo Zen e l' arte di imparare uno strumento
High Recommended

THOMAS MARTIN & his "Requiem" by Bottesini

PAOLO BENELLI

Dragonetti: Solos for double bass

by PAOLO BENELLI for CARISCH
by PAOLO BENELLI for CARISCH

FEDERICO BAGNASCO

Cd

MICHELE VERONESE

CATALIN ROTARU

Cd/DVD

PAOLO BENELLI

World Premiere!

FRANCESCO FRAIOLI

DAN STYFFE

"Portraits for friends" by BERNARD SALLES

BASSIONE AMOROSA

IRINA-KALINA GOUDEVA

"Recomenzar El Infinito"

Mr. PETRU IUGA "invention" !!!

Vito Liuzzi !!

Rino Liuzzi in STUDIOS

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