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David Heyes

David Heyes: In Flanders Fields: 3 Pieces for double bass & piano

David Heyes: In Flanders Fields: 3 Pieces for double bass & piano

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About the Compositions

In Flander’s Fields is a collection of three works for double bass and piano which were inspired by the centenary of the First World War. They can be performed singly or as a suite, in any order, with a poignant theme of reconciliation and remembrance for ‘the war to end all wars’. 

No Man’s Land for double bass & piano 

'No Man's Land' for double bass and piano was composed to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War and in memory of David's grandfathers, both of whom fought in the conflict. The simple chordal accompaniment is reminiscent of a repeated tolling bell against which the solo line plays a poignant melodic line of yearning loss. A hint of gunfire eventually falls away into a repeated two-note pattern which gradually fades away into nothingness. 

"When I was writing the piece I had a picture in my mind of the devastation of No Man's Land in front of me, in black and white, and the stillness and silence are depicted by the slowly moving chordal accompaniment. The solo double bass is almost an onlooker or observer who comments, with both sorrow and anger, at the sheer waste of human life and the brutality of 'a war to end all wars', and still we don't learn." [David Heyes] 

No Man’s Land also exists in a version for solo double bass and violin octet. 

'No Man's Land' was premiered at St Thomas Church (Mamhead, Devon) on 13 June 2014 by David Heyes (double bass) and David Haines (piano) and received its American premiere on Monday 1 December 2014 at Black Mountain Center (Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA) by David B. Teague (double bass) and Kathy Wallace (piano). 

2. Beneath the Stars for double bass & piano 

"Beneath the Stars was written in 2014 for double bassist James Rintoul. Inspired by the first movement of Frank Proto’s Sonata ‘1963’ the piano accompaniment only uses two chords, expanded within a series of rhythmic variations, echoing the simplicity and soporific effect of Satie's evocative Gymnopédie. The solo line is lyrical and song-like, emphasising the cantabile qualities of the double bass, contrasted by a more urgent and impassioned middle section before the music falls away into a recapitulation of the gently moving chordal introduction. Beneath the Stars was composed to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War with the idea that the stars look down on everyone... friend or foe alike!" [David Heyes] 

3. the poppies blow… for double bass & piano 

“I was so inspired by the beauty and poignancy of the poppies at the Tower of London that I decided to write a short piece for double bass and piano for our concert at Wells Museum on Saturday 15 November 2014. The music is lyrical and simple and hopefully also evocative and atmospheric. It was subsequently arranged for viola or cello and piano.” [David Heyes] 

the poppies blow… was premiered in Manchester on Monday 3 November 2014 by Gemma Ashcroft (double bass) and Kate Blackstone (piano). 

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 27 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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