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David Heyes

David Heyes: Bass in Space: Five Intergalactic Adventures for double bass & piano

David Heyes: Bass in Space: Five Intergalactic Adventures for double bass & piano

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About the Composition

Bass in Space is a suite of five colourful, atmospheric and engaging pieces aimed at the progressing young bassist. Using a limited number of positions and remaining in bass clef, each piece has a space-related theme and offers musical and technical challenges in equal measure.

Played arco and pizzicato, with the addition of sul ponticello and simple harmonics in 4th position to add variety and contrast, there are opportunities for young bassists to explore new sound worlds and playing effects, and a story could easily be added to each piece.

The accompaniments are generally simple and supportive, sometimes adding colour and mood, also creating a rhythmic and melodic cushion of sound.

Table of Contents

1. Lost in Space remains in 1st position but can be played an octave higher by a more advanced bassist. The solo line is generally slow moving, against a repetitive arpeggio figure in the accompaniment, with opportunities for the bassist to create long melodic lines in the lower register of the instrument.

2. Moon Walk was composed in 2016 and uses 1st and 2nd positions. The accompaniment is simple and supportive, adding colour and atmosphere, creating a feeling of slowly floating through space. A repeated melodic figure adds unity and there are opportunities for the bassist to explore the lyrical potential of the double bass.

3. Rings of Saturn uses 1st and 3rd positions and is colourful and atonal. The accompaniment is rhythmically independent, only using the black notes of the piano, supporting a chromatically infused solo line which is far easier than it looks. Music for younger players is usually tonal and accessible and this piece offers exciting new challenges during the early years of study.

4. Deep Space is tonal and slow moving, with a simple and repetitive chordal piano accompaniment. It uses 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions, with a few easy harmonics in 4th position, and the focus is definitely on the double bass. There are opportunities to explore the lyrical qualities of the double bass within a limited number of notes and rhythms.

5. The Red Planet is a mysterious and atmospheric finale to the suite with the addition of sul ponticello and easy harmonics in 4th position. A two octave range is explored with an emphasis on colour and atmosphere.

About the Composer

David Heyes (b.1960) studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish, later at the Royal College of Music in London, and completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with František Pošta (Principal Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 20 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, three times as chairman.

David's collaborative work gained him a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering activities as a soloist, teacher, publisher, and commissioner of new music for double bass and he works with composers throughout the world to expand the double bass repertoire by commissioning new music and by rediscovering forgotten ones.

Since 1983 more than 700 works have been written for him, music from one to twenty basses and from beginner to virtuoso, and he has premiered ten contemporary concertos with orchestra.

David began to compose in 2013 and has had music performed and recorded in 29 countries across five continents. He is a D'Addario Performing Artist and has recently commissioned a solo double bass from British master-luthier Martin Penning.


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