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David Heyes

Teppo Hauta-aho: Typically Teppo 3 for unaccompanied double bass

Teppo Hauta-aho: Typically Teppo 3 for unaccompanied double bass

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About the Collection

Typically Teppo 3 brings together six engaging and inventive works which demonstrate the many musical and technical challenges of the solo double bass. All were composed in the 21st-century with each inhabiting its own individual and unique musical soundscape.

Table of Contents

1. A Bass Waltz (2016) was composed for a Double Bass Festival at the Royal College of Music in London and was completed on 12 August 2016. Played primarily in harmonics, with an occasional pizzicato chord or open string to ground the work, it's ethereal and bleak musical landscape has echoes of the composers native Finland portraying its vast open spaces of forests and lakes.

2. Justonen (2005) is the shortest of the three works and remains in treble clef throughout. It was completed on 12 December 2005 and is a beautiful miniature to demonstrate the lyrical and cantabile possibilities of the double bass.

3. Pizzicato Serenade (2015) is the longest and most challenging of the three works. Completed on 29 May 2015, two days after the composer's 75th birthday and a few weeks after Teppo-Fest 2015, it encapsulates everything about the composer's soundworld and approach to playing the double bass. There are musical and technical challenges aplenty and this is a masterclass in how to write successfully for the pizzicato double bass.

4. Almost a Serious Encore (2020) was Teppo Hauta-aho’s final piece and was a 60th birthday present for David Heyes, a great friend and supporter of the composer and his music. The language is bleak and darkly hued, using a limited musical palette to create music which says much in its short time span. Almost a Serious Encore was premiered by David Heyes on Sunday 11 October 2020 at St John the Baptist’s Church, Glastonbury (Somerset)

5. A Song for Da Vinci (2018) was composed for Alexander Heather, who gave its premiere at Quilter Hall, Wells Cathedral School (Wells, Somerset) on Friday 3 May 2019, as part of 'Typically Teppo' - a celebration of Teppo Hauta-aho's music. It was completed on 2 May 2019 and is in one movement exploring the wide range of the solo double bass. The opening music [Andante sostenuto] is in the bass register, switching between arco and pizzicato a number of times, with short phrases and snatches of melodic interest leading into a section of pizzicato double stops. The second section [Poco più mosso] is in treble clef and eventually ascends into the harmonic register. The music is lyrical and expansive, contrasting the opening music,

with long musical phrases which are simple though far from simplistic. A few double stops interrupt the flow and the music gradually relaxes in height and intensity before moving into a lower register and ending with simple repeated bar creating a sense of unfinished business.

6. A Serenade for Tony was completed on 13 August 2020 and is lyrical and song-like and played in harmonics throughout. Tony Osborne and Teppo Hauta-aho first met at Bass-Fest '98 in Reading (Berks), directed by David Heyes, to whom the piece is dedicated, and remained friends for 21 years. A Serenade for Tony is simple and sincere, using a limited number of notes, occasionally grounded by an open string pizzicato note which adds depth to the cantabile melodic line. Lasting almost three minutes, the piece ends gently and simply, leaving more questions than answers, with two ringing pizzicato harmonics.

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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