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David Heyes

Tony Osborne: Threnody for Ovidiu for double bass trio

Tony Osborne: Threnody for Ovidiu for double bass trio

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About the Composition

Threnody for Ovidiu is a heartrending and passionate lament and is one of Tony Osborne's finest works for the double bass. The music is powerful and dramatic, utilising the lyrical and sonorous potential of the instrument throughout its solo range, and is aimed at the advanced bass trio. There are challenges for each bassist, creating a mini-masterpiece which has appealed to performers and audiences alike throughout the world. 

“Threnody for Ovidiu was commissioned by David Heyes as a heartfelt tribute to the memory and work of his close friend, the Romanian virtuoso Ovidiu Badila, following his untimely death. The piece has a characteristically elegiac mood and flows at a slow pulse to reflect on the sadness of the occasion, but there is also a sense of the lyricism that one would associate with Ovidiu's playing, and reflecting his devotion to his art. 

There are several moments where the music reaches a starker cadence on a chord of open fifths - often referred to as 'power chords' in rock guitar playing - but especially heard in traditional Georgian 'Rustavi' choir style. This is not directly related to Ovidiu or his playing, but provides an essence of firm resolve, that however sad events may be, life goes on, and this is further emphasised in the more triumphant conclusion of the piece, reflecting a fine player who was loved and respected in the world of music.” [Tony Osborne, 2001] 

Romanian double bass virtuoso Ovidiu Badila died on 21 March 2001 at the age of 38 and Threnody for Ovidiu was composed between 24-25 March. It was premiered on 9 April 2001 at Bass-Fest (Downe House, Newbury, Berkshire) by Mette Hanskov, David Heyes, and Teppo Hauta-aho, who had each worked with Ovidiu the previous year in Denmark. 

About the Composer

Born in 1947 into a musical family, Tony Osborne studied at the Royal Academy of Music (London) with John Walton (double bass) and Richard Stoker (composition), and divided a busy career between composing, teaching, and performing. A prolific composer and arranger, Tony's original compositions include works in almost every genre, notably Chaconne Syncopations and Wainwright's Ways for brass 

quintet, Celebration Fanfare for brass ensemble, the musical A Fine Time for Wine, a beautiful and dramatic Requiem, and many works for string orchestra. Tony’s music for young bassists is very much at the heart of the teaching repertoire, particularly his jazzy and enjoyable bass trios and quartets, and he had the rare ability to create wonderful music which is always player and audience-friendly. 

In 2001 Tony Osborne was elected an ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music) for his pioneering and important work for double bass and was a featured com- poser at Bass-Fest for over ten years. He was a very successful BIBF Composer-in-residence in 2002-3, was a judge for the British Composer Awards and a judge for the BIBF Composition Competition from 1999 until 2015. 

Tony Osborne died on 30 March 2019 at the age of 71. 

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