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David Heyes

David Heyes: Bessy's Beginner Bass Trios for Junior Double Bass Trio

David Heyes: Bessy's Beginner Bass Trios for Junior Double Bass Trio

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About the Trios

Bessy’s Beginner Bass Trios are for junior double bass trio, or larger forces, and are primarily in 1st position, with a few easy harmonics in 4th position. A number of playing techniques such as col legno, sul ponticello, Bartók pizz. and bass percussion create interest and contrasts. 

1) Bessy's Big Day out is lively and fun with a limited number of notes and rhythms suitable for young bassists. The addition of harmonics in 4th position creates height alongside col legno and sul ponticello which add colour and contrast. The melodic interest is passed between basses 1 and 3 but each player is an important part of the team. 

2) Bessy's Highland Fling uses the 'Scotch snap', alongside bagpipe effects, producing a piece which is Scottish-influenced from beginning to end. There is a strong forward momentum, with the repetition of themes and rhythms, and the addition of percussion adds character and drive. More challenging than 'Bessy's Big Day Out', this is a fun and energetic piece which would make an ideal final item in any concert." 

David Heyes writes: "Composing for the beginner bass ensemble is a great challenge to a composer and, fortunately, my experience as a professional double bassist and teacher helped with many aspects of both pieces. The low tessitura of the beginner bass trio has the potential to be muddy and unfocused but, with careful editing and writing, the textures can be open and bright offering exciting challenges for the performers alongside music which is enjoyable for audiences. I tried to make each part interesting and there are effective musical and technical challenges suitable for young bassists. Both pieces will work as a trio or with massed forces and it was also interesting to create this version from the original double bass quartet version.” 

About the Author

May Halyburton, the founder and driving force behind the Bessy Bass empire, has written an exciting story for each quartet which can be read out before each piece is played. Both stories are included with the score and parts. 

May Hayburton writes: "Bessy Bass is a young double bass from Scotland who loves to travel and have adventures with other instrument family and friends. As the central character in the “Around the World with Bessy” series of children’s books with music, Bessy learns a little about the language, culture and of course, the music of each destination she visits, as well as the importance of friendship, kindness and inclusion. Through her stories, Bessy aims to sow the seed of curiosity about the wonderful world of music in the minds of her young readers, with the hope that they might even be inspired to find their musical instrument. Bessy was overwhelmed when the wonderful double bassist and composer, David Heyes offered to write a suite of beginner double bass quartets for her! David suggested the idea of accompanying each piece with a short “Bessy” story and so began our exciting collaboration." 

About the Composer

David Heyes 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 28 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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