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Blake Hilley

Franz Xaver Gruber: Silent Night for Unaccompanied Double Bass

Franz Xaver Gruber: Silent Night for Unaccompanied Double Bass

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About the Composition

The traditional holiday song "Silent Night" has a simple yet extremely compelling and powerful melody. I asked myself, what if Bottesini got a hold of the melody and embellished it? In my arrangement of "Silent Night," I begin by keeping true and performing the entire melody.

However, instead of revisiting the same melody, I embellish it with a Fantasia-like variation of the theme in a Cadenza fashion. I return to the melody with variations of octaves from the harmonic C on the D string, finally ending the music with a Low C, truly making this a double bass exclusive arrangement.

Please enjoy my unique double bass arrangement of "Silent Night," inspired by both the song's alluring melody and Bottesini's flashy style of composing. Happy Holidays!

-Blake Hilley 

Listen to Blake's Recording of this arrangement

@bhi_bass Happy Holidays!! My double bass arrangement of “Silent Night” is out everywhere (link in bio)!! Enjoy!! #doublebassistsoftiktok #doublebassists #classicalbassplayer #classicalbassist #classicalbass #doublebasssolo #doublebasscover #silentnightcover ♬ original sound - Blake Hilley

About Blake Hilley 

Blake Hilley is an award-winning double bassist who performs both as a classical soloist and an orchestral bassist. He loves to explore the versatility of the bass, bringing the voice of the instrument to the public. Blake graduated from The Juilliard School with his Bachelor of Music with Academic Honors in 2022, and he is returning to Juilliard for his Master of Music with Timothy Cobb, Principal Bassist of the New York Philharmonic. Blake performs with the Juilliard Orchestra under Maestros, including Itzhak Perlman and David Robertson. Blake has performed frequently with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Carlos Izcaray. Blake has toured across Germany with Juilliard415 and Yale Schola Cantorum as the Principal Double Bassist and Featured Soloist in a total of 6 concerts. Performing Haydn's Symphony No. 6 and Creation Mass under Maestro David Hill.

Blake's discography includes a wide variety of Classical Music to Original Compositions. His latest releases include J.S. Bach's "Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major" and David Anderson's "Four Short Pieces for Solo Double Bass." As a composer, Blake has debuted his original solo double bass composition "Pride and Steel" and his original rock song "Fairytales." Blake's catalog of recordings further includes his EP of classical impressionistic songs, "Selections for Double Bass and Piano". Plus, his debut single, Max Bruch's "Kol Nidrei," was lauded by Jason Heath from Contrabass Conversations in Blake's interview on Contrabass Conversations Podcast.

Blake has performed in the Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall, and Alice Tully Hall under the batons of Maestro Itzhak Perlman, Maestro John Adams, Maestra Marin Alsop, and Maestro David Robertson. In addition, he was the Principal Bassist of the Juilliard Opera for Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte", and the featured bassist of the New Juilliard Ensemble under the baton of Maestro Dr. Joel Sachs.​ The top winner of the Camerata Artists International Competition 2020, Blake has premiered a new work for the solo double bass called "Bass Heart" by Bishu Chattopadhyay. His chamber music concerts include Beethoven's 1st Piano Concerto arranged for String Quintet and Piano and David Anderson's "7 Double Bass Duets".

Artists Blake has played with include the Goat Rodeo Sessions, featuring Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan. During the Pandemic, Blake was honored to be selected to perform with Itzhak Perlman and the Juilliard Orchestra in their virtual performance of Elgar's Nimrod featured on CBS Sunday Morning. 

As an artist who enjoys connecting with his audience, he has played concerts at libraries and retirement homes in Atlanta with his talented sister, cellist Ilana Hilley. They both enjoy demonstrating the power of music not only in the concert hall but in the everyday moments that can be made to last through music. Blake has also joined as a way to bring music to individuals at home during the pandemic.

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