1) Maestro Dalla Torre, you have got one of the most beautiful site related to “Bassetto” and the "Double Bass", plus many new features especially in technique. Can you tell our readers how you came to play the Bassetto and the double bass? A case or a will states?
Thanks for the compliments! I began the double bass with 15 years after having played the violin, the guitar and the electric bass before. The occupation with the bassetto started in 2003 after some frustration with the high register of the fourth-tuned double bass...
2) You can tell us exactly where you teach and where you hold master classes? You feel more as a teacher or a soloist?
I am teaching in North Germany in the beautiful city Rostock, which is situated at the Baltic sea. The school’s name is “Rostock University of Music and Theatre“. I hold master classes wherever I receive invitations. The last was in China (Beijing and Shanghai). Besides my regular teaching and my abroad activities I give a small class at our school, which takes place in September every year. Two years ago I became artistic director of an international double bass event in the german monastery “Kloster Michaelstein”. I worked out a new concept for it. Now the event takes place every year in March. Under the new name “Double Bass Kaleidoscope” approx. 40 students can take lessons with 8-10 professors. (Please add link)
I feel more convenient as a teacher, the soloist is never happy with the results, but still trying...
3) Maestro, let's talk about the soloist. Perhaps you are one of the few musicians in the world that plays or is able to play the Bassetto and double bass. But which one really prefer and why?
In general I like the double bass more. But I don’t like the limited repertoire for this instrument. Therefore I was looking for a possibility, to play “great” music with another basslike instrument on a high musical level. The bassetto offers this possibilities, but probably I have to practise until the end of my life without ever arriving at the musical expression that I imagine. I think that most colleagues understand this certain “constructive discontentment” which is a motor for our creative work. Finally I benefit a lot of my bassetto-work for the double bass. Trying to overcome limits always has an effect. Probably I am a better double bassist now after having started to experiment with the bassetto.
4) You are able to play in fourths and fifths. But both Bassetto and Double bass or only one of these
instruments? Which are the real benefits of playing in fifths?
Oh, there are many. The fifths-tuning, especially the octavided cello-tuning C-G-D-A offers a huge range of possibilities like richer sound, better fingerings for many orchestra-passages (but worse for others – no advantage in life without disadvantage...), no limit in the required low notes, better connection with the other fifths-tuned string instruments and more. But, of course, it is harder to play.
5) Excuse my ignorance. But are there some books to learn to play in fifths? And if there are, where can we find them?
There are books and practise-materials by Joel Quarrington from Canada, who is the pioneer in fifths-tuning, and also by the american Dennis Masuzzo who put out a method-book.
6)Maestro, your site shows a musician who is very attentive to the history of these two instruments.
But now we have certainty about how it was played in example the Bassetto? Furthermore, in your opinion when was born the Bassetto and when the double bass?
I don’t see me as an explorer, I just put together some materials. As to the bassetto, there are many doubts and the history is quite unclear, even the terminology is nebulous. In italian it means nothing but “small bass”. That’s all, whatever it may mean. Maybe different instruments with different use in different regions. The same with the double bass: What does it mean? The more I research, the less I understand!
7) Let us return back to the double bass. On the marvelous demo-DVD, I noticed that you use the technique of the "four fingers" (or five in thumb position) in a very easy and simple way. In your opinion the technique of the "four fingers" (or five), where you add the little finger, may be considered "universal" or suitable for everyone? You think this will be the technique of the near future?
I don’t expect to create a “universal-technique” for the future and I don’t see me as a pioneer. But I have fun to play the role of the one who brings good developments and technical progress of other double bassists and string-players in general together. I was always searching for technical tools for my musical expression. As far as I can say now in my actual development, the greater discovery than the use of all fingers is the avoidance of muscular power. Once I found out, that the use of weight instead of muscles solves many technical problems of our instrument, I feel much more ease in playing and teaching. With this basic knowledge the use of all fingers is quite easy, but also every different fingering system like the italian or Rabbaths “pivot-technique” works easily. Chacun son gout!
8) Maestro, I have noticed that on your instrument the strings are very thin. It needs to use these strings in the technique of the "five fingers" or we can choose the ones we prefer?
There is no need in using thin strings. I do so, because I adore the terrific quality of the custom-made strings by the Berlin stringmaker Gerold Genssler. In my ears they offer brilliance and resonance like no other string in the world. Therefore I use them.
9) Yet we talk of technique. Your grip (holding) of the bow is "alla francese" but with some small differences. You feel that this technique is better than that "alla tedesca"? What do you think about this incredible "querelle"?
I hope that this incredible “querelle” can be overcome soon, because it is primitive in my eyes. People are different, people will always be different, and therefore playing techniques will always be different. I like the chinese devise of the last Olympic Games: “One World – One Dream”. I would add: “Different People – One World – One Dream”. This is my dream, that the variety of life can be understood as richness instead of being condamned...
As far as to my bow hold, I just wanted to try out, like I always try everything before coming to a conclusion. Today I say: Not the bow hold is important, but to understand the arm as the bow, the body as the musical instrument, and the expression-will as the origin of any musical emotion. When I listen to musicians, which are limited in their technical skills, but play with a full heart, I am touched. The opposite is not very interesting for me.
10) Maestro, your directory or repertory is very large. But musically who inspired or were inspired you during your studies?
I don’t have idols, although there are musicians that I like very much. My inspiration? Often it was nature, where the greatest melodies and the most beautiful sounds are composed.
11) Your great musicality is evident. But using the technique of the four or five fingers is an advantage for broader phrasing and varied? (per rendere il fraseggio più ampio e diverso)
For me “yes”, for others I can’t say. Only some of my students play the same fingering, but they all play very well in their individual way. Therefore as a teacher I try to support everybody to express himself.
12) Maestro, can you tell us clearly what the "New Dutch School " is? Is it really so important and why?
It is only a name, a “brand”, that I found funny, because the great dutch musicians Hans Roelofsen and Rudolf Senn have been playing with the “heavy bow” and the "Four-Finger-System" very succesfully for many years. With the name “New Dutch School” I want to show one possibility, but of course there are so many others. I for myself don’t follow this system consequently, because I always discover new things... This is the flow of life, and once we accept, that permanent transformation is a law of nature, life will taste better...
13) Maestro, you have recorded a lot with the Bassetto and the Double bass. But in the end there's
one that you like more?
I like most the instrument that I play while I play it.
14) Let's conclude this interview. Maestro, which are your future commitments and what do you think about "your" live-DVD?!?
The DVD, to be mentioned first, was just a live-recording of a concert. I am not so convinced of it, but I am inspired to do it better next time... There are many ideas for the future, but since also they change every day, I better don’t mention here. Just one: I will go to China this summer during the semester break to participate at a chinese language intensive course. Wo hen gaoxing! I will enjoy chinese food and chinese foot massage every day, because both feels incredibly for me...
15) Maestro, thank you for your kindness. If you want to add something that is the right time.
I have nothing to add than my wish, that everybody may be able to do what he or she wants to do by full heart and in freedom...
16) Maestro, at last only a curiosity. How is it possible to play with a bow of 300 grams? How to keep it?
I am not able, but Rodion Azarkhin was - everybody can hear his recordings, which I like very much. I used to play bows with a weight of 230 grams for the german and 180 for the french bow hold (and recorded my last two CDs in this way), but actually I prefer to play with a heavy arm instead of the heavy bow. But maybe, I will change my mind soon...
Thanks a lot again.
You are welcome!
1)Maestro Roccato, la prima domanda che vorrei rivolgerle, come faccio
solitamente con tutti è di questo tenore molto elevato: ma per Lei il
contrabbasso è stato uno "scontro accidentale" o un piacevole incontro.
Come sono andate esattamente le cose? Non mi pare sia stato il suo primo amore!
Nella mia famiglia tutti suonavano uno strumento musicale e tutti prendevano lezioni dallo zio di mio padre, il Maestro Danilo Venturi. Questi dirigeva, componeva operette, suonava il violino e il pianoforte. Da bambino ero profondamente affascinato dalla sua personalità. Volevo diventare come lui, vivere di musica. Non mi sembrava così importante la scelta dello strumento. Uno valeva l’altro. Li percepivo come dei mezzi per raggiungere un fine. Per questo con lo zio ho studiato violino e pianoforte, con mio fratello la chitarra e il basso elettrico.
Poi sono passato al contrabbasso perché il giorno in cui stavo andando in conservatorio per informarmi sulle modalità di iscrizione ho incontrato un contrabbassista con il suo strumento e il suo atteggiamento epico mi sembrava in sintonia con la mia visione di ciò che doveva essere un musicista.
2)Maestro, per una questione professionale sono andato a studiarmi il suo "Profilo", insomma il suo "curriculum vitae". C'è da spaventarsi! Eppure siamo entrambi della classe 1969. Mi spiega cosa significa laurearsi con il massimo dei voti, la lode, e la menzione speciale di merito? Di più non si può, credo? Insomma come nasce questa passione
che l' ha condotta ad un simile risultato?
Faccio molta fatica a identificarmi con un curriculum. Quando lo leggo, invariabilmente non mi ci riconosco. Ma questa è un’altra storia, e credo valga per tutti. Comunque in quegli anni al conservatorio di Adria c’era un clima estremamente stimolante. C’erano bravissimi pianisti, violinisti, violoncellisti. Questo costituiva anche una sfida perché io stesso avrei potuto scegliere uno dei loro strumenti e volevo dimostrare che ci si poteva esprimere bene musicalmente anche con il contrabbasso.
3) Secondo Lei, c'è qualcuno a cui deve un "grazie profondo" per la carriera che sta facendo, magari anche più persone, e perchè?
Un “grazie” lo devo soprattutto al mio insegnante, Federico Garberoglio, per mille motivi ma soprattutto per avermi regalato una visione, una lucida follia, che mi guida in tutte le scelte.
Sono convinto che non bastino il più alto livello tecnico e il più intelligente approccio musicale ed estetico per produrre qualcosa di veramente affascinante. E’ necessario avere uno slancio vitale, un desiderio irrefrenabile di comunicare, il bisogno fisico di portare qualunque discorso alle sue estreme conseguenze, almeno una piccola quantità di quell’energia posseduta da musicisti come Glenn Gould, Anner Bylsma, Keith Jarrett, Gidon Kremer.
4) Maestro, alla lettura del suo Profilo mi è venuta un’angoscia terribile. Ma veramente ha fatto tutte le cose che descrive? Ce n'è una che l' ha particolarmente soddisfatta?
Le cose che più mi soddisfano sono sempre quelle che faccio al presente.
Attualmente i progetti a cui sto lavorando con maggior trasporto sono quelli con il celebre scrittore e attore Vitaliano Trevisan. Abbiamo tre progetti assieme, “Madre con Cuscino” (in trio con il pianista Marco Tezza), “Note sui Sillabari” (in duo) e “Solo et Pensoso” su mie musiche.
5) Una cosa è certa! Mi sembra Maestro che lei non abbia poi così tanto amato i vari Bottesini, Dragonetti, Dittersdorf & Company. Glieli hanno fatto studiare ma la sua strada già andava
e guardava verso altri orizzonti. Perchè l' amore per le trascrizioni?
In passato ho suonato piuttosto di frequente Bottesini e Vanhal, e faccio sempre studiare i “classici” ai miei allievi. Ma sono convinto che non sia possibile elevarsi come musicisti senza eseguire la “grande musica”. Da qui la mia esigenza di trascrivere Bach, Schumann, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Webern, Zappa.
6) Non pensa che ci siano trascrizioni che si adattino meglio rispetto ad altre, che vengono così malmenate da farne uscire un ibrido indecifrabile ?
Questo argomento meriterebbe lo spazio di un saggio. Mi limito a dire che ogni buona trascrizione dovrebbe, a mio avviso, rispettare due semplici principi: adattarsi alle sonorità e prerogative del contrabbasso e non far percepire in alcun modo la difficoltà. Una trascrizione che si limita a far suonare al contrabbasso la parte di un violoncello ad altezza reale non offrirà certo all’ascoltatore una nuova chiave di lettura, ma sarà, inevitabilmente, una brutta copia dell’originale.
Naturalmente, come per ogni buona regola, ci sono, ovviamente, delle eccezioni. Queste valgono soprattutto per alcune di quelle composizioni nelle quali l’aspetto “strumentale” sia marginale. Un esempio è l’op. 11 di Anton Webern.
7) Passiamo alla discografia. Io ho qui accanto a me due suoi Cd nei quali in pratica è sempre solista.
Capiremo dopo il perchè! Lei nel 2001 (giovanissimo) ha voluto esordire con il famoso
Arpeggione di Schubert e poi con delle trascrizioni da Schumann, molto ben riuscite.
Ma non era più semplice esordire non so con Capuzzi in Re, o Giovannino o Cimador!!
No, subito su autori importanti! A parte le battute, come mai questa soluzione decisoria?
In realtà l’Arpeggione era a quei tempi il mio cavallo di battaglia. Per Scumann ero invece in piena infatuazione. Infatti, riascoltando oggi il CD trovo l’esecuzione di Schubert un po’ troppo schumanniana.
9) 2004. 'round Piazzolla. Questo è il titolo esatto. Con lei hanno collaborato professionisti del calibro di Massimiliano Pitocco (bandoneon), Saverio Tasca (vibrafono e percussioni) ed il suo pianista preferito Marco Tezza. Ora io mi sono chiesto: "Probabilmente il maestro Roccato farà il basso di accompagnamento?". Macchè, Lei è il solista principale di questo splendido lavoro e mi chiedo chi abbia trascritto le parti. Ci racconti.
Le trascrizioni le abbiamo fatte a tavolino tutti insieme. Ci siamo divisi i materiali originali e abbiamo deciso come costruire le sezioni improvvisative. Poi ognuno ha lavorato singolarmente. Gli arrangiamenti si sono poi affinati nel corso di diversi concerti, all’incirca un centinaio. E’ un CD a cui sono molto affezionato perché la registrazione è stata la prima cosa dopo diversi mesi di forzosa inattività a causa di un brutto incidente in motocicletta.
9) Solitamente tutti quelli che si imbattono in Piazzolla ne escono un pò malconci. Ma
a mio modesto avviso questo lavoro spicca fra i tanti non solo per l' ottima registrazione
ma soprattutto per le sonorità che si sono venute a creare avendo un contrabbasso a farla da solista.
Anche nell'accompagnamento era un solista. Ma Maestro com’è nata l' idea di creare frasi col contrabbasso di una poetica inenarrabile?
Mi rendo conto che sto per dire una cosa un po’ estrema ma sono fermamente convinto che il contrabbasso, come qualunque altro strumento ad arco, sia un dettaglio, il nostro vero strumento è l’arco. Non è il contrabbasso ad avere bisogno dell’arco per produrre il suo suono, ma l’arco che ha bisogno di almeno una corda tesa e una cassa di risonanza. Violino o contrabbasso è un questione di dettagli. Naturalmente, il “dettaglio” contrabbasso fornisce all’arco una tavolozza di colori estremamente varia. Per me molto più ricca di quella fornita dagli altri strumenti ad arco.
11) In entrambi i Cd si nota la sua grande maestrìa con l'arco, che credo sia un Lucchi?
Solo che da quando ha cominciato questo incredibile arco i suoi "staccati" sono divenuti
"iper-staccatissimi". Arco o tecnica?
Nei CD di cui lei parla ho usato un Massari, anche se da circa un anno suono solo con archi Giovanni Lucchi. Ho notato anch’io, riascoltando le mie registrazioni, di essere sempre più posseduto dal demone dello spiccato. Non me lo so spiegare fino in fondo ma credo dipenda dall’esigenza di creare distinti piani polifonici. Specie in Bach, dove a soggetti in legato sovrappongo controsoggetti staccati. Inoltre sono quasi ossessionato dall’idea dell’essenziale. Il mio lavoro è continuamente volto a togliere, semplificare, pulire, tagliare, asciugare.
12)Una cosa gliela devo dire, Maestro. Lei è uno dei pochi al mondo ad eseguire dei "volteggi rimbalzati o sautillè" che personalmente mi fanno impazzire quando li ascolto. Non vorrei sbagliare, ma usa anche la quarta corda? In una ventina di lezioni potrebbe insegnarmi
questa tecnica che difficilmente gli archisti tedeschi riusciranno ad ottenere?
Spesso mi viene chiesto di parlare della mia tecnica dell’arco, ma devo dire che non c’è niente di speciale. Mi sono limitato ad applicare pedissequamente la tecnica violinistica russa, che forse oggi viene insegnata in modo eccelso dai grandi maestri giapponesi.
13) Maestro, gentilmente mi tolga un' altra curiosità. Lei è stato
l’organizzatore del primo festival internazionale dedicato interamente al Contrabbasso in Italia, "Ludus Gravis – contemporaneaMente contrabbasso", svoltosi a Perugia.
Ecco, Le posso chiedere per curiosità come è andato e se ci sarà un seguito, in tempi non remoti, a questa incredibile manifestazione ? Ancora una volta dimenticavo!
Maestro Roccato, lei ormai è entrato nella Storia del Contrabbasso per essere stato realmente il primo organizzatore di un Festival di tale importanza: come ci si sente?
Grazie ancora per la Sua disponibilità."
Il Festival Ludus Gravis ha avuto una notevole partecipazione e ha goduto, da parte di organi specializzati, un’attenzione che non mi sarei aspettato. Ma devo dire che in realtà il festival ha assunto le dimensioni e le prerogative finali quasi casualmente. Il mio intento era quello di creare, attraverso delle committenze pensate ad hoc, delle interazioni fra esecutori e compositori. Fare in modo che questi ultimi venissero a conoscenza delle recenti conquiste nella tecnica del contrabbasso, mettessero da parte le risibili indicazioni contenute nei manuali di strumentazione e scrivessero dei pezzi cuciti su misura degli esecutori committenti. Questo fondamentale aspetto didattico, questo strettissimo legame istituito fra ricerca, produzione, esecuzione e valorizzazione è stato, a mio avviso, anche a livello internazionale, la vera novità di Ludus Gravis.
Il festival potrebbe avere un seguito in tempi non remoti ma… diciamolo sottovoce…
1) Mr. Furtok, first of all it’s a great pleasure to talk with you, one of the more notable classical double bass players in all over the world. It’s not only my own opinion. I’m also a double bass player, and a not so good journalist, especially when I have to write in English. But let’s return to you, Maestro. You come from Poland and, just I said, you are considered one of the most prolific “young” talent under different point of view. Well, in your family everyone is an artist: so also the very young Boguslaw had to be an artist. Now, I’ve seen in one of your photos that your are able to play also Piano, so why did they choose for you the double bass, this so “strange instrument”, and not the piano. Tell us something about Boguslaw as Kid. Piano, double bass and at the and in 1986 your teacher W. TAMOWSKI. Please!
"I started to play piano when I was 4 and I always thought “This is my instrument”. When I was 9 I went to special professional music school and they offered me percussion or double bass. My parents decided me to play double bass. I haven’t seen this instrument before and I was really scared when I saw it for the first time. There was no love between me and double bass at the beginning. First, when prof. Tamowski started to teach me at the age of 17 I started to understand how beautiful this big instrument can be. Every year I took part in different bass competitions in Poland and abroad like Markneukirchen getting first prize in 1989, Geneva 1990 and Parma. There I met some students from prof. Günter Klaus and I decided to study with him.
2) Then you decided to meet and study with Mr. Gunther Klaus (one of more appreciated teacher and soloist in all over the world), In Frankfurt (Fran-furtok … It’s a matter of destiny!). What changed in your mind? What happened in your technical studies and in your way of phraising? If you like, tell us also some your anectodes.
"I went to Frankfurt in 1991 for Konzertexamen studying two years with prof. Klaus. His firs question was: “Do you want to play in orchestra?” I was not sure because I was dreaming of solo career. Very soon I noticed how good german orchestras are and I decided to make an audition for orchestra. I was very lucky, my firs and only one audition gave me a great job as principal bass player in Franfrurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1993.
3) So, last years, you decided to dedicated yourself in soloism: you, your double bass and others like your favourite pianist EVA WARYKIEWICZ . But you play also in great Orchestras. Soloist: but how is the Boguslaw in soloism? Are you satisfied of your performances? Which are the most important things and why in this job?
"Solo playing is another part of my musical life. Different like playing in orchestra needs much time and hard work. Searching for new peaces, arranging, hours of playing and practising. I always try to make music. I am not a kind of person who is showing Double Bass and his possibility. <there is only music which is most important to me. #
4) Lets return back to Gunther Klaus, your “Mentore”. How many years did you study with him and really what did he transmitted to you? It’s a great double bass player and I love his way of playing. Use all the concepts you like more. What has changed in Boguslaw’s soul ?
I have studied with him two years. He showed me many great things- like technique and different points of musical view. It was very helpful and he opened my mind in many ways. I am very thankful to him for this two years of lessons. Now we are really good friends.
5) Mr. Furtok, when a double player meets another collegue, this one always asks to him: “ But how many hours per day you study to achieve your incredible results??!!
Me??? Very different, but when I have to prepare a solo recital of course it is many hours of working.
6) I’d always ask you: it’s better the quantity of hours spent to study or the quality? And what his for you the quality of study?
I never look to my watch during practising but when I am tired and my brain does not cooperate with me I just stop. This is most important thing to be able to control what I am doing. If it does not work it makes no sense to practise. But this everyone can learn how to practise and control every tone. This is the way I work.
7) Another thing for our readers principally double bass players. It’s very easy for you to play by memory a lot of compositions. It’s an attitude or something else? What I mean is if you think that playing by memory is better than with sheet music in front of you.
I learn music very quickly by heart. This is the very first step of learning new piece. After that I can concentrate on technique and finally the most important- music. What does not mean that I forget music on the beginning of learning
procedure. In the concert I cannot imagine to play with sheet music because it deconcentrates me. This is the way I learnt to play for
8) Mr. Furtok and Youtube: all "live" recordings with some little imperfections may happens!). I've noted your are considered the "King of the Web" for the beauty of your live performances. A lot of videos in which you transmit all the great potentiality that you have got. But Boguslaw Furtok is more Romantic or likes play compositions with great technical difficulties?
There are no differences for me what kind of music I play. I never think about any difficulties. I always search the composer's ideas and try to realize them as
good as it is possible. When you say " romantic" I do answer: There is a great cello player Lynn Harrell, if you know him you will understand how the technique attends the music. I feel very
similar like him.
9)I'm not too agreed with someome who tells that you are the faster double bass players on the tube. Perhaps it's true but in much more of times you play "live" phrases of a very difficult execution, like is a pianist plays a Rack 3 !! You would like to have the consense by your public for your incredible technique or for you capability in finding what that Italians like me call "Bel canto"? Don't kill me, Maestro. But I've realiced that you have much more to tell us with your double bass. How is mainly your way of playing the double bass? Imho, you will be able to tell us much more in the future.
This is funny to say: I am the fastest bass player on youtube . Of course as I said before the music is only thing which is important to
9) Maestro, do you play what you like more, what do you think to play well
Or what the market asks to you of playing?
I try to play everything, sometimes I search for a new pieces or play what I actually work on.
I've missed "Bottesini", my favourite!
But who decides how to prepare a Cd than another? Is there someone with which you talk before to.
10) I've got only four Cds of your big collection. So young and so prolific.
prepare a recording?
That was always my idea what to record. Of course I discussed about it with my pianist.
11) You have recorded I think 5 CD: 1) Bottesini, Beau Soir, Brahms and so on,
Schubert and so on and finally the great "Tre grandi duetti" with the contribution
of prof. JOHANNES STAHLE. Here I might talk for hours. Ops ... I've forgetten one, havent'I? How you can tell us about your Cds: are you satisfied, you could it better? And what about the contemporary music?
Few years ago I have recorded a double bass concerto by Brian Fennelly "Lunar Halos" together with Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra- very contemporary,
beautiful piece from New York which was also released on CD. With the same orchestra I recorded two bass concertos from polish composers: Cwojdzinski and Poradowski. I can say I am very satisfied
with those recordings. Of course, you can always say: You could do it better, but this is normal progress in our life and we just have to accept it.
12)What do you think about transcriptions from other instruments?
You do it! And with very good results ... but tell me your main reasons of your transcrptions. Only marketing or it's a way to enlarge our repertory ... I don't know! So, what do you think?
This is both: repertoire and public. Bass recitals should be interesting for audience I think. That's why sometimes I make some
13) Just little technical things for readers: you use very brilliant strings (perhaps Permanent) and you like to listen to your bass like a cello, if I'm not wrong. But why Maestro you don't tune your normal strings like Bottesini: one and a half tune above? (also Vahnal did it) . It's easier !
To be serious. Some of your critique tell you play very fast and with a very strict vibrato ... other critics like "me" thinks that every artist must choose what sort of sound obtain. Music is beautiful for these aspects. You play fast and strict: if people like this way of your playing, keep going on it. But what do you think?
This is just a way I feel music and play my instrument. Never thought about cello playing double bass .
14) Just to stop this "strange" interview !!: now you play on a very beautiful double bass made by maestro Thomas Martin. If you have courage tell us all the skills, all good and bad things and so on in this instrument (don't worry, Mr.Martin won't kill us!). Why did you decide to buy it from The great Maestro?
(Tell us, there are so low cost or what ...!!)
I know Tom for many years. He knows how I play and once he told me: “ I can make a perfect bass for you”. I trusted him and I got what I want. It took maybe few years to make this instrument playing how I want. Now, after ten years I am really happy with this bass and I can say: Thank you, Tom!
15) My last question, Mr. Furtok. Why do you play with that “strange position”, in comparison with the old one, more far from the double bass? It’s a no good position for our body, but for you it’s so simple …. Another thing: how long are your fingers !!?
I do not know if it’s strange position, it’s very different by every player, every body… I feel very comfortable and what is important I can play hours with no pain. My fingers are quite long.
16) Maestro, for young double bass players what do you feel do say? And your future projects?
For every young bass player: listen to the music, listen to the best violin players what I do every time, try to make music not to play only instrument!
My future projects? Continuing solo playing, orchestra playing and spend more time on composing.
Thanks a lot Mr. Furtok for this interview . It has been an honour!
I found another
genius! Dance music a more beautiful and calm but arranged with great detail. I
heard from fat which are so small. Boguslaw is actually a very affable and friendly, though maybe not quite this l 'impression that the general public. Frankly, this is a multi-instrumentalist that has left me very impressed, and I know first
introduced a few more questions in our interview. Unfortunately the saying "tell me with those studies and tell you that you will do" is earned for him to be too bloody. Sounds all divinely.
Fortunately out off the 'Italy its capabilities have not remained unexplored. Managers who did not support it and send him to play well in Havana, but he prefers to remain so in its greatness. A Great! by Vito Liuzzi
Published by Vito Liuzzi at 2/09/2010 09:11:00 AM 0 comments
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Thank you for your participation. F.to dr.Vito Liuzzi
Boguslaw FURTOK - What talent!
Arm. Boguslaw Furtok. I wonder why a talent like that has only taken a Mention 's honor Bottesini a few years ago (many). Ah, if he had studied with Petracchi would certainly achieved the first prize I think not awarded. But life is not. Unlike other is showing his talent with a myriad of beautiful CDs and positions as the first ever orchestral bass. And then he became my idol ever. Boguslaw plays the piano very well, then I, not being able to challenge the plan double bass, I told him that I was very good on electronic keyboards (not true, however). And what has he done sent me two mp3 electronic music played by him and composed from the same incredible. 'S man (now) the music in his blood. Use keyboard with such ease complicated by pitiable.
1) Dear maestro Morton, you have to know that my first question to great classical double bass players is very important and fundamental for readers: "When do you meet for the first time the "Giant"? A case, an experiment, a family of doublebass players and so on. Please, tell us about the birth of Mark Morton as Doublebass player (I've seen, that you play also piano ... there's something wrong!!!)?
I guess I really have three stories about how I started playing the bass: 1) How I remember it, 2) how my first teacher remembers it, and 3) how I wish it happened. 1) As many 6th grade students in Texas, we were all given the choice to play in the orchestra or the band. That decision was easy – I wanted to play in orchestra! That’s where thereal music happens, and besides, that’s what you do as a professional musician. How many professional bands are there? Orchestra in Texas schools means playing a stringed instrument. So, it was a process of elimination: The violin you had to buy, so that was out. The viola? What’s a viola? So it was between the cello and the bass. As an eleven-year-old boy, I somehow knew this was a VERY important decision, and I agonized over this decision for two weeks! I love low pitches, so I decided to go all the way – I wanted to play the bass! 2) My first orchestra director, Griffith Miller, remembers that when he brought the high school orchestra to my elementary school, I was riveted by the basses in the orchestra. Mr. Miller also remembers the following school year that when we were unpacking the instruments, he handed me a bass, and asked each of the young students which instrument they wanted to play. When he got to me, he says I said, “Well, I guess I’ll play this!” I suspect it is because the bass is what I wanted to play. And finally, 3) I grew up in Texas, and everyone knows that everything is big in Texas. I wanted to play the violin, so they handed me a contrabass - a “Texas-sized” violin!
I started playing the piano the same time as I started the bass, almost exactly on my eleventh birthday. I have always loved both instruments, and I have been playing piano a lot more lately. I accompany all my students. I recently played a solo piano recital of all Scott Joplin. I am working on a recording project where I accompany myself in many works by Bottesini. I even played the celeste part in the Nutcracker this season!
2) By mails it’s difficult to have an interview. By the way a “News” in your site that say more or less: “Mark Morton will be the new full time bass professor in the Texas Tech University”.
My best compliments! But I don’t understand one thing: you are the main professor in the American School of Double Bass® in Lubbock … now full time bass professor always in Lubbock.
What is the main differences and the common things?
I have been at Texas Tech now for two and a half years. I have taken the American School of Double Bass® with me. Though in Columbus, Ohio, we had an actual building – an old firehouse built in 1896 – the ASODB now exists as a philosophy, an aesthetic, and a technique of playing. It now exists as my publications and as a website www.asodb.com. We hope to re-instate the summer retreats summer 2011 back in Columbus, Ohio.
3) By the way, you teach your students “german teacher” and you play also in this way.
Maestro, but do you think it’s really the better way to play a doublebass? And “French”
I play both the French and German bows. I like to play French in orchestra, and German as a soloist. The philosophy of the American School of Double Bass®, like the U.S. itself (or so we like to think), is to embrace all the national styles of playing, and synthesize them into one integrated technique, philosophy and aesthetic. For example, I will sometimes use the third finger in a similar manner to the old Italian method. I like to use the third finger in semi-tone trills between the 1st and 3rd fingers. I also will frequently use the 3rd finger a whole-tone from the 1st finger when playing in what I call “open hand.” I love to play in the delicate French sound, when the music calls for it, especially in French music, of course. I also love to dig in and go for a bel canto tone when the music calls for it, especially in Italian music like Bottesini.
4) Well, I can wait for it. In one of your two principals Cds you play a piece called “Concerto” by Antonio Capuzzi. Now, in Italy this Concerto it’s important but only for the first years. We say “It’s easy to play” (great mistake). I’ ve heard your marvellous performance and both under a technical point of view in recording studios, also your “Music”, in my opinion, has gived a new
Light about this Concerto. What do you think and what instrument you use.
We have too few concerti from the 19th and 18th centuries in our repertoire to reject a perfectly good one like the Capuzzi Concerto. We tend to judge this concerto only from the first movement, which is not hard to play, but unfortunately, is the weakest musically of the three movements. The second movement is lovely, and the third movement is so much fun, and a little more difficult than the first. So, don’t stop at the first movement of this concerto!
This concerto is originally in the key of D. Though I recorded it in the more traditional key of F, surely this concerto should be played a major 6th higher, not the minor third lower as is suggested in the Yorke edition. F major is already a low key, (one of the reasons this is considered an uninspired student work), and a minor third lower makes this problem worse. Played a major 6th higher, I doubt anyone would consider this an “easy” concerto
I perform and record solos on my wonderful Neopolitan bass made by Gennaro Vinnacia in the last quarter of the 18th century (approximately when the Cappuzzi concerto was written!)
5) “Russian Rendezvous”,
this is the title of your second CD, if I’m not wrong. Why did you choose the
Of course, the works of Koussevitsky and Gliere are very important composers in our repertoire. They were good friends as students in their native Russia, and I wanted to re-unite them on this CD. I think this music, especially the Gliere, is among our finest. I also wanted to include another Russian composer, in the ”Flight of the Bumble-bee,” and one French composer (the Russians and the French have been friends for many years) with the “Meditation” from Thais.
6) But let’s go on. I don’ t want to forget a great composer like Paul Ramsier.
What can you tell us about this incredible Maestro?
Paul Ramsier is one of the finest composers of 20th century music. His music is so psychological, it affects me in a deep psychological way. I like his style of music, that I like to call “art nouveau.” This artistic style existed in the decorative arts, but was not really recognised in music until, I think, with Paul Ramsier. Perhaps there were some other composers whose music may be described as “art nouveau,”
Poulenc and Satie perhaps, but for some reason, no one borrowed this term from the art world as all other musical styles were.
I especially like Ramsier’s Silent Movie for a lot of reasons: the concept of the piece of music to an imaginary silent movie – the music exists, but the movie does not (is it really “silent” anymore?) He effectively represents the seven “scenes” of this imaginary silent movie in seven short movements. I have also found this is a terrific piece for more advanced students to play - it really challenges and helps their ears because each movement features a different interval (thus the seven movements) in a pan-diatonic or a musical language that is on the very boundary of tonal music and atonal music.
7) It’s not so easy, but in this Cd a doublebass player called Gary Karr has played
A piece by Ramsier. Usually Mr. Karr doesn’t play something he doesn’t like. So,
What has been Karr’s reaction after listening for the first time this piece?
I would imagine he liked this music very much. Much of this music was tailor-made by Paul for him, and Gary plays this music very, very well.
8) Ok! Maestro Morton, we are talking about others. And last but not least Mr. Thomas B. Gale. Talk us about him. I think it’s incredible!
Yes, Tom Gale is an important contributor to the pedagogy of the American School of Double Bass®. He and I see this more modern technique of playing and teaching the bass in an almost identical way. His five books of bass technique progress form the near beginner, all the way through thumb position and what we call “open hand” technique. Together, these five books make up the most intelligent and relatively concise method for learning to play the bass I have ever encountered. With his technique, he codified the “Triangulation of Fingering Systems”® which is made up of 1) traditional Simandl technique (1-2-4) which we call “closed hand,” 2) “open hand technique (1-2-3-4), and 3) thumb position (+-1-2-3) including below the octave harmonic.
9) Now we can return to Mark Morton. I would like to ask you a lot of things. But one thing it’s very beautiful when you play: the phrasing and this incredible sound
Very big and so well recording. How is it possible to reach so high level in technical execution but also in a very beautiful phrasing?
This is our biggest challenge as artists: the balance between Classicism and Romaticism. Classicism is the form of the art, its technique, its architechture, its “correctness.” Romanticism is the content of the art – its expression, what the art is trying to communicate. The two work against each other. The struggle is to balance these two opposing forces. For me, the perfect balance is a lot of both. I’m very gratified you like both.
9) Mr. Morton you are a gold mine of questions, but then I will stop.
You talk about “Simandl plus”, a little book that people can download from
Your site. Which is it main object?
I believe that the primary issue holding bass players back, even the entire bass community, is poor fingerings. The main object is to give bass players an “operating system” of how to decide on fingerings that are effective technically and musically (Classicism and Romanticism again!). The 15 strategies of Simandl-Plus® provide a pretty consistent approach to fingering that will work in almost all situations.
10) You really do a lot of things! An incredible number of Books regarding
To technical exercise, tips, fingerings and much more (Tom B. Gale is always
There!). Why a so incredible number of books? I probably know the answer
But it will be a pleasure to listen to you.
Yes, there are five technique books: Double Bass Technique: Concepts and Ideas, Miraculous Scale Fingerings, Miraculous Arpeggio Fingerings, Torturous Exercises, and Primer Scale and Arpeggio Fingerings. The technique treatise is my Doctor of Musical Arts document. Except for the Primer Scale and Arpeggios (which is for less experienced players) I had intended to include all the books in this document. When I saw the treatise was turning into a monster, it became obvious that these books would have to be in separate volumes I felt the information I collected in these books were fundamentals that, in 1989 anyway, was nowhere to be found. All these books were self published and have sold world-wide since 1991, but soon all the books will be published by a new publisher, Northeastern Music.
11) Maestro Morton but you use the Open Hand (126.96.36.199.)? And if yes, which
Are in your opinion the main advantages of this technique? And the opposite things?
Will it be the technique in the future for the double bass and if yes do you think
It might an “universal” technique?
Many players think that the American School of Double Bass®, and Simandl-Plus® is “open hand” technique (1-2-3-4). Actually, “open hand” is only a small part of the Simandl-Plus. I use “open hand” only about 5-7% of the time. Being that the American School of Double Bass® is a synthesis of what I believe to be best of all the “national” techniques, I hope that this synthesis of techniques, (or something like it,) will benefit bass players, bass performance, bass music, and ultimately the public’s awareness, expectations, and enjoyment of the bass in many musical styles.
Maestro Morton here you can say all you like. And at the same time I tell you: “Thanks a lot” for this brief interview. Brief because there are a lot of aspects of your
Way of playing that I haven’ t consider ed… just now!!