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David Heyes

David Heyes: Suite 'In Bohemia' (Hertl Remembered) for double bass & piano

David Heyes: Suite 'In Bohemia' (Hertl Remembered) for double bass & piano

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About the Compositions

Suite ‘In Bohemia’ includes five short, colourful and accessible miniatures for the intermediate bassist, exploring the lyrical and cantabile qualities of the double bass. Primarily in bass clef and low thumb position, each features musical and technical challenges in equal measure and are ideal for both study and recital use.

The piano accompaniments are simple and supportive, creating open textures for the solo double bass, with a limited number of key and time signatures to create variety and contrast.

The pieces can be performed singly or as a suite, and in any order.

Table of Contents

1. Arietta was composed on Thursday 9 February 2023 and is dedicated to my beautiful wife Sarah. It was the fifth and final piece to be written and is short, lyrical and song-like. The piano accompaniment is simple and repetitive, playable by harp or guitar, with a solo bass line which highlights the sonorous possibilities of the double bass. The melodic line moves mostly by step, with short forays into low thumb position, and the feeling should be relaxed and unhurried, with an emphasis on legato, simplicity and beauty of tone.

2. DUMKA (Thought) Dumka was composed on Tuesday 7 February 2023 and emphasises the rich middle register of the double bass. I wanted to demonstrate to my students that playing in the key of F minor is not difficult, with much of the solo line moving by step, and deciding to create three-bar phrases with a repetitive three-chord accompaniment which remains in treble clef, and above the solo line, until the brief cadenza at the end of the piece. Dumka was premiered at Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA) on Wednesday 8 March 2023 by Gabe Meacham (double bass) & Susan Hagen (piano)

3. LEGENDE (Legend) Legende was composed on Thursday 2 February 2023 and is gentle and relaxed, with a simple modal accompaniment which creates a cushion of sound over which the solo bassist can weave the long melodic lines. The 5/4 time signature creates an expansive framework with the solo bass moving mostly by step in the middle register of the instrument. Legende aims to create an atmospheric and evocative musical landscape and is suitable for any bassist who is confident playing in low thumb position.

4. LULLABY (Ukolébavka) Lullaby was composed on Thursday 26 January 2023 and revised on Tuesday7 March 2023. “I was thinking about the Hertl project as I was driving to Wells at 7.00am and the chordal scheme and opening thematic idea of the began to form in my mind as the journey progressed.” The solo line emphasises the lyrical potential of the double bass, mostly moving by step and with the progressing bassist in mind, with the gently undulating accompaniment creating a simple and supportive cushion of sound. The technical demands are slight with many opportunities to sing long melodies in the rich middle register of the double bass.

5. A SAD SONG (Smutná piseň) A Sad Song was composed on Tuesday 31 January 2023. "Having some free time because of student illness, I began to write and the music came very quickly, with the solo line almost writing itself. The key of B minor, used by Tchaikovsky for his 6th Symphony, has a feeling of despair which is contrasted in this piece with chord V7 and its feeling of hope.

Although only using two chords, the accompaniment felt complete and the solo line flowed above the static and doom laden chords. A Sad Song is dedicated to my fantastic daughter Sophie Heyes.

[Programme notes by David Heyes]

2023 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Czech bassist-composer-conductor František Hertl (1906-1973). Hertl composed a number of impressive works for double bass including a Sonata for double bass and piano, which is arguably the finest sonata in our repertoire, and in the late 1960s or early 1970s he composed a series of 30 Miniatures for double bass and piano, aimed at conservatoire level bassists, which are little known today. Each is colourful and inventive, combining musical and technical skills in tandem, with supportive accompaniments which add character and distinction.

Hertl Remembered is a project to create a new series of 30 Miniatures in memory of František Hertl. The composers who took part in Hertl Remembered are David Heyes (UK), Eric Funk (USA), Michael Montgomery (USA), Peter Byrom-Smith (UK), Luis Guillermo Perez (Venezuela), P. Kellach Waddle (USA), John Alexander (UK), Christopher Field (UK) & Lourdes C. Montgomery (Cuba/USA).

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 recently commissioned a solo double bass from British master-luthier Martin Penning.

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