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David Heyes

Dragonetti/Nanny: Concerto for double bass & piano (edited by David Heyes)

Dragonetti/Nanny: Concerto for double bass & piano (edited by David Heyes)

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About this Edition

This edition includes piano accompaniments for both solo and orchestral tunings.

The 'Dragonetti Concerto' was first published in 1925 by Alphonse Leduc in Paris as No.23 of Edouard Nanny's 'Les Classiques de la Contrebasse'. For many years no one questioned its authenticity, but as more research into Dragonetti's original works for double bass was made, concerns began to arise. Many of Dragonetti's manuscripts survive in the British Library, thanks to Vincent Novello who donated them in 1849, three years after Dragonetti's death and on Novello's retirement to Italy, but there is no original manuscript for this work.

As bassists began to edit and perform a wide range of Dragonetti's music it became clear that this concerto bore little resemblance to any of his other pieces. The work does, however, have many similarities to Nanny's Concerto for double bass, also to his other solo works and even studies from his Method. Eventually, most people came to the conclusion that this work is not an original work by the great Venetian bassist but is by Edouard Nanny, but in the style of the late 18th-century.

With that in mind, this is still a charming and evocative work that has player and audience appeal and is very easy on the ears. Many of the challenges for the soloist are technical and, almost a century after its first publication, it is still as popular as ever. Published in 1925, the first movement was performed at London's Wigmore Hall on 15 April the following year by Victor Watson (double bass) and Sidney Crooke (piano) and was described as a 'Contrabass Concerto by Dragonetti-Nanny.

About Edouard Nanny

Edouard Nanny was an important French double bassist and teacher, also composing and transcribing many works for double bass. He was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 24 March 1872 and he studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Professor Verrimst, also teaching therefrom 1920-1940.

He performed often as a soloist, also working as an orchestral bassist with many orchestras such as the Paris Symphony Orchestra, Concerts Lamoureux and the Orchestra de l'Opera Comique, and in 1901 he founded the Henry Casadeus Society of Old Instruments, chaired by Camille Saint-Saens, and intended to revive the works from the past centuries.

Nanny's Method for double bass is still in print, over 90 years since its first publication and both volumes contain a wealth of excellent technical studies and exercises which are as relevant today as they were in the 1920s. His other volumes of studies are mostly out of print and Recital Music plan to reprint some of his original works for double bass, transcriptions, and educational music to keep alive the name of Edouard Nanny into the 21st-century. Edouard Nanny died in Paris in 1942.

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