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David Heyes

Teppo Hauta-aho: The Mini-Bass Symphony for Massed Double Bass Ensemble (in 10 parts)

Teppo Hauta-aho: The Mini-Bass Symphony for Massed Double Bass Ensemble (in 10 parts)

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About the Composition

Teppo Hauta-aho's Mini-Bass Symphony is aimed at the good beginner ensemble, with some low thumb position passages for Bass 1, but all the other parts remain in bass clef using a limited number of notes, positions and challenges, enabling a wide range of standards to play together.

Anyone who knows the atmospheric and idiomatic music of Teppo Hauta-aho will enjoy the simple challenges of this piece which creates magical tapestries of sound.

The Mini-Bass Symphony can be played with 10 basses or massed basses, and each of the four short movements offer interesting and accessible music for young bassists - aged 8 to 80! A range of playing techniques are used to create a tapestry of musical landscapes and textures and the use of simple harmonics in the lower positions adds to the clarity of the piece. It has been performed in Britain and America many times and has been a favourite at Bass-Fest whenever it has been performed.

The Mini-Bass Symphony was composed in 1986 for a mini-bass project in the UK, although was never performed, and was revised by the composer in 2005 prior to its publication by Recital Music,

About the Composer

Finnish composer and bassist Teppo Hauta-aho was the most prolific bass composer of our time and, since the 1970s, has composed more than 400 works for double bass - spanning the entire range of standards from beginner to virtuoso.

Teppo Hauta-aho was born in 1941 and studied double bass with Orvo Hyle and Oiva Nummelin in Finland and František Pošta in Prague. He played with the Helsinki Philharmonic between 1965 and 1972 and the Finnish Opera Orchestra from 1975 to 2000. Teppo Hauta-aho was an active recitalist, both classical and jazz, gave more than 300 recitals with his duo partner, Carita Holmström, and was at the cutting edge of modern improvisation - performing with leading improvisers throughout the world for many years.

Finnish composer Harry Wessman writes: "As a composer, Teppo Hauta-aho has always been his own teacher, basing his technical knowledge on his wide practical musicianship as an orchestral player, chamber and jazz musician. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that he was the jazz bassist most in demand in Finland in the 1970s, and a few of his works are pure jazz compositions. But the compositional techniques and musical means used in the majority of his works originate in an unusual openness for any devices. Along with modern techniques, his source of inspiration includes all the previous stylistic periods in European music, impulses from Oriental music and, of course, jazz. His own instrument, the double bass, has profited especially from his rich inventiveness in finding new means to conjure forth unusual sounds from the instrument, and in applying them in an artistically meaningful and striking way."

Teppo Hauta-aho's music has been performed extensively in Finland and abroad, notably in America, Britain, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Soviet Union, Australia, and Switzerland. He died in Helsinki on 27 November 2021.

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