Tuesday, 15 May 2007

An evening of duets and trios

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The scroll of the double bass


XM, Emily and yours truly (PY) met for an evening of rehearsal on 14 May 2007.

As Emily and I were early, we started practising J.S. Bach's Air on the G string (for Double Bass duet), arranged by Buell Neidlinger. This duet arrangement was written in the key of C major. Emily said that it would sound much better a tone higher, so when we replayed this work for the second time, we had to mentally transpose and play the entire work a tone higher. The work certainly sounds better when played a tone higher. My hats off to Emily for being able to transpose and play all the notes a tone higher almost instantaneously.

When XM arrived, the three of us sight-read several trios written for the double bass. We sight-read three works from Trio Favourites Vol. 1 arranged by Carolyn White. Mozart's Adagio, K. 617A and Mendelssohn's Nocturne from this set of scores would sound well if we were to devote more time to practise it. We decided we could consider playing these two works for future performances, after May 2007.

I read from the short programme notes of Mozart's Adagio, K. 617A that this work was "originally scored for glass harmonica". It was Mozart's meeting "with the young virtuoso Marianna Kirchgassner (1770 - 1808) which persuaded Mozart to write for the instrument".

Of more interest to me was the programme notes written of Mendelssohn's Nocturne. The melody is originally written for and "played by the bassoons and the horns, and is meant to depict the depths of the wood's magic and that of sleep."

We also played a few other trios. As there was some time, we rehearsed Sentimental Bossa Double Bass quartet by Murray "Doc" Solomon.

Much later in the night, XM had to leave early. Emily and I decided to use the time wisely by sight-reading a couple of duets from Classical & Modern Duets for Two String Basses (edited by Fred Zimmermann). I trust the composer's intuition in Emily that Francesco Durante's Allegro deciso from this set of duets would sound well as it is considered a good composition.

Overall, it was a night of fun practice. Of course, I think it was quite a challenging session because of the technical demands of the works that we had chosen to sight-read that night.

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