1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Concerto for Double Bass

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by s7on3d, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    Hey guys,

    I wanted to know, someone once told me that there's a concerto for double bass... what is it and who composed it? I think it was called (translated roughly from hebrew) "The Zoo" but I'm not sure...
  2. Are you thinking of "The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saens? It's not a bass concerto, but it contains a pretty famous soli passage for the bass section.

    Aside from that, there are quite a few bass concerti out there, the more famous ones by Dragonetti and Koussevitsky.

    Check out Lemur Music's PDF catalogue for tons of bass literature.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Ralph Vaughan William wrote a concerto for Tuba - which is very nice - I have it on a CD!! ;)
  4. Dondi


    May 3, 2003
    There are quite a few pieces available. The best overall sources I know are in New York City. Both Joseph Patelson's music house and Frank Music in Manhattan will do mail order for you. Go to those two websites and look for the composers Dragonetti, Koussevitsky, Vanhal, Hoffmeister, & Capuzzi. Also There is a wonderful sonata by Hindemith, as well as lots of short pieces by Bottesini. That should keep you busy till your hands want to fall off. Good luck bass brother.
  5. Actually the VaughWilliams Tuba Concerto was written for Harmonica, but the harmonica player never paid for the commision, so he changed it to a Tuba Concerto.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No that's wrong - it was quite clearly written for Tuba specifically and is now thought of as the masterpiece for that instrument - with writing specially suited and all the reviews I've read pointing out how VW loved the instrument and took it seriously as a potential solo intrsument.

    What you might be thinking of, is :
    "Romance in D flat for harmonica Accompanied by an orchestra of strings and pianoforte."

    Dedication to Larry Adler, the famous harmonica player - but this is quite a different piece.

    Here's the entry from :


    "Concerto in F minor for Bass Tuba
    Composed : 1954
    Accompaniment : Full Orchestra
    Movements : I - Allegro Moderato
    II - Romanza (andante sostenuto)
    III - Finale (rondo alla tedesca)

    Duration : 13 minutes

    In the last decade of his life RVW took to experimenting with what could well be considered as "unusual" instruments; in the 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies he included a wind machine, tuned gongs and flugelhorn respectively. During the same period RVW also wrote two works for soloist and orchestra, the harmonica romance and the tuba concerto, both emphasise the fact that RVW was still full of ideas well into his Eighties.

    RVW seemed to have quite liked the tuba as an instrument, and often included parts for it in his orchestral works. However, in his Tuba Concerto it gets centre stage, and proves that it can hold its own as a concerto instrument. Musically, the Tuba Concerto is notable for having two cadenzas - in the first and last movements. RVW justified this by saying the concerto was more akin to the Bach style than the Mozart-Beethoven one. The central Romanza movement is probably the most popular part of this work, and it exists in versions for euphonium, bassoon, cello and piano.

    Recommended Recordings :

    P.Harrild, soloist; London Symphony Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 92623
    Arrangement for Cello : Julian Lloyd Webber, soloist; ASMF, Neville Marriner. Philips 442 530 2PH.
  7. Dondi


    May 3, 2003
    I felt it in my bones about the Vaughn-Williams, but you had the documentation. Touche!
    If you know anything about how the tuba works compared to the harmonica, the tuba concerto was obviously written to be idiomatic to the tuba. Too bad its so awkward for the Double Bass to play.
    Anyone out there know of any pieces that transcribe well to bass?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right - if you have ever heard the Tuba concerto, you would know that it would sound ridiculous played by harmonica! ;)

    It is clearly exploiting the sonorities of Tuba.

    But I'm surprised that it is awkward for DB as I would have thought Tuba was more "unwieldy" and that the breath required would be a big limiting factor - I mean I have never even thought about transcribing it - beyond me!!

    But I just thought it would be roughly the same range and that a bowed DB version might work? I mean it probably woudn't sound so good , but I would have thought it should be playable?