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David Heyes

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

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

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About the Concerto

Édouard Nanny’s Concerto was published in 1938 and was originally only available for orchestral tuning. In three contrasting movements and lasting around fifteen minutes, the concerto is easy to programme and would be ideal for any audience or occasion. Aimed at the advanced bassist and using the entire range of the double bass, there is a wealth of technical and musical challenges making this ideal as a study or recital piece.

Dedicated to Nestor Higuet, Professor of Double Bass at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels, the first movement (Allegro moderato) is confident and vibrant, with an imposing and arresting first theme introduced by the soloist in bar 9. There are a wealth of double stops to negotiate, many scale and arpeggio passages, and Nanny certainly tests the technical prowess and stamina of the solo bassist.

The slow movement (Lento), a mere 20 bars, emphasises the lyrical possibilities of the double bass through a series of arpeggio figurations followed by a virtuosic cadenza leading directly into the Finale (Allegro moderato) which is bright and buoyant, technically challenging and with a strong rhythmic momentum throughout.

The compositional style is tonal and accessible with a supportive and independent piano accompaniment that adds energy and color. Nanny knew the technical possibilities of the double bass in 1938, the majority of which he included, and it’s a concerto that deserves to be reassessed in the 150th anniversary of Nanny’s birth.

This edition includes accompaniments for both solo and orchestral tuning.

About the Composer

Édouard Nanny (1872-1942) was the leading French bassist of his generation, taught at the Paris Conservatoire for 20 years, and is recognised as the founder of the modern French double bass school.

Alongside a wealth of transcriptions for double bass, Nanny also composed a series of original works which are worthy of revival in the 21st-century. His music is elegant and charming, exploiting the lyrical and technical possibilities of the double bass, and all are useful as both study and concert repertoire for the progressing bassist.

An anniversary is a good time to reassess a composer’s work and Recital Music is planning to create new editions of a number of Nanny’s original works and transcriptions, in both tunings, this year.

Édouard Nanny is an important figure in the development of the double bass in the first forty years of the 20th-century, particularly in France, and much of his educational music is still in print today. He made an amazing contribution to the double bass world and deserves to be celebrated and remembered.

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