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David Heyes

Tony Osborne: Three Fun Bass Quartets

Tony Osborne: Three Fun Bass Quartets

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About the Compositions

Down at the O.K. Corral is a Wild West epic written with the young bassists in mind. It’s a fun and energetic piece, with much to enjoy, and uses a limited number of notes and positions which are ideal for bassists who are just beginning to explore the double bass repertoire.

"Anyone familiar with Tony Osborne's numerous bass quartets will welcome this latest offering. He always manages to inject a sense of fun and playability using simple rhythms, good hummable tunes, and just a little bit of syncopation to keep you on your toes! This quartet is in simple ternary form, the opening introduction being in octave unison. The first section is reminiscent of a jaunty cowboy tune, the second section is a marvelous native-American type dance followed by a return to the cowboy section and a coda that repeats the introduction with a cheesy semitone glissando to end." (Bass News)

The Pink Elephant is one of Tony Osborne's most popular works and was written in the early 1980s for the intermediate double bass quartet.

Its lively, rhythmic, and jazzy idiom has been successful with performers and audiences alike and has also been successfully played with massed basses. The catchy melody is one that stays with you for a long time and this is a fun quartet that has stood the test of time. All basses remain in bass clef throughout.

"This fun quartet is a musical depiction of your favorite black-and-white TV cop from the early 1960s waiting to pounce on some shady crooks outside The Pink Elephant Night Club...the appropriately kitsch, swingy melody sounds like a cross between The Pink Panther and Baby Elephant Walk." (ISB)

Green Bass Blues remains in bass clef throughout and is aimed at the progressing beginner bass quartet. Composed in 1980, it combines elements of swing, blues and rock'n'roll, in a lively and rhythmic idiom that appeals to players of all ages.

It has been performed at bass workshops and concerts throughout the world, and can be played by quartet or massed basses. Effective use of the 12-bar blues, with a swinging triplet accompaniment, demonstrate the composer at his jazzy best.

About the Composer

Born in 1947 into a musical family, Tony Osborne studied at the Royal Academy of Music (London) with John Walton (double bass) and Richard Stoker (composition), and divided a busy career between composing, teaching, and performing. A prolific composer and arranger, Tony's original compositions include works in almost every genre, notably Chaconne Syncopations and Wainwright's Ways for brass

quintet, Celebration Fanfare for brass ensemble, the musical A Fine Time for Wine, a beautiful and dramatic Requiem, and many works for string orchestra. Tony’s music for young bassists is very much at the heart of the teaching repertoire, particularly his jazzy and enjoyable bass trios and quartets, and he had the rare ability to create wonderful music which is always player and audience-friendly.

In 2001 Tony Osborne was elected an ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music) for his pioneering and important work for double bass and was a featured com- poser at Bass-Fest for over ten years. He was a very successful BIBF Composer-in-residence in 2002-3, was a judge for the British Composer Awards and a judge for the BIBF Composition Competition from 1999 until 2015.

Tony Osborne died on 30 March 2019 at the age of 71.

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