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David Heyes

Bartók for Basses: 23 duets & trios for double basses (arranged by David Heyes)

Bartók for Basses: 23 duets & trios for double basses (arranged by David Heyes)

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About the Collection

Bartók for Basses brings together a collection of 15 duets and 8 trios for double basses, arranged by David Heyes. Aimed at the intermediate duo and trio, these are pieces that offer musical and technical challenges in equal measure, demonstrating the great versatility and potential of the double bass. 

Béla Bartók (1881-1945) is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th-century. He composed a wealth of music in most genres, including music for young musicians, often based on folk songs, which are still at the heart of the educational repertoire today. 

15 Duos for 2 double basses 

Bartók’s 44 Duos for Two Violins were composed in 1931 at the request of the German violinist and teacher Erich Doflein, to provide young musicians with structured technical studies, and to introduce them to folk music. The melodies originate in countries of the Slovak region, and two feature a melody composed by Bartók himself. They are rife with bi-tonal passages, poly-rhythms, and many brash dissonances. The 44 Duos are divided into four books, where the pieces advance in difficulty. 

David Heyes has selected 15 from books 1 and 2 which lend themselves easily to being transcribed for double basses. Each one has its own character and style, none lasting more than a minute, offering musical and technical challenges in equal measure. They continue to have both a didactic and performance element and would easily fit into any student recital or concert demonstrating the versatility of the double bass. The duos could easily be played by violin or viola and double bass, and any number of pieces can be played and in any order. The possibilities are endless. 

Bartók for Basses: 8 trios for 3 double basses 

For Children is a cycle of 85 short piano pieces by Béla Bartók. Composed between 1908-9 and divided into four volumes, each piece is based on a folk tune from Hungary or Slovakia. Books 1 and 2 (Hungarian folk tunes) and Books 3 and 4 (after Slovakian folk tunes) were revised in 1945 when the composer removed six pieces that were inaccurately transcribed or found not to be original folk songs. 

David Heyes has selected eight pieces, seven based on Hungarian folk tunes and one (Oh, Mother-in-law!) based on a Slovakian folk tune to arrange for double bass trio. The original keys have used in most cases, with the occasional octave displacement to help maintain open and clear textures. The effective interplay between each bass offers many ensemble possibilities and the ability to explore a wide range of musical timbres and sound worlds. 

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