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David Heyes

Teppo Hauta-aho: Mini-Bass Quartet No.3 for 4 double basses

Teppo Hauta-aho: Mini-Bass Quartet No.3 for 4 double basses

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About the Composition

Mini-Bass Quartet No.3 was composed in the early 1990s and revised in February 2000 for Recital Music and The British & International Bass Forum (BIBF). There are effective musical and technical challenges, including percussive effects and simple harmonic passages in the lower positions, creating a wealth of atmospheric and tonal contrasts in the orchestral register. 

Although written for mini-basses, this quartet is accessible to intermediate bassists of all ages and offers many opportunities to demonstrate the palette of colors available to the adventurous quartet. Teppo Hauta-aho writes in a modern but accessible idiom and there are three possible endings, enabling every performance to be unique. 

The mini-bass became popular during the second half of the 1980s and new solo and ensemble music was needed for younger players. The three mini-bass quartets by Teppo Hauta-aho are both traditional and forward-looking from a composer who understood the potential of the double bass, even during the first years of study. They offer effective musical and technical challenges for all the bassists and is both engaging and exciting in performance. 


"Teppo will be 70 this year and has been writing for groups of basses for at least 20 years. Indeed, this quartet was first written in the early 1990s. Teppo's experience ranges through orchestral, chamber, jazz, and contemporary bass techniques. Mini-Bass Quartet No.3 draws particularly on the latter of these and would suit a quartet of teenagers interested in contemporary sounds and exploring the full sound world potential of the double bass. It is more lyrical than 'squeaky gate' in style and provides good material for teaching and performance. Bass 1 and 2 require experience roughly equivalent to grade 6 while basses 3 and 4 could be tackled by a grade 4 player." [European String Teachers Association] 

About the Composer

Teppo Hauta-aho (1941-2021) was the most prolific composer in the history of the double bass and composed for every ability level, from the beginner to the virtuoso. His music is evocative and atmospheric, shaped by jazz and contemporary styles, and the influence of the dramatic and bleak landscapes and vistas of his native Finland are captured throughout his engaging and accessible music. 

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