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Hardest Bottesini "non-concerto" work

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by bulldogbassist, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. bulldogbassist


    Jul 21, 2009
    Hey Patrick, I've been in a bit of a Bottesini frenzy right now, learning all I can about his music and his style of playing. :hyper: I've learned some of his repertoire and now I'm curious about something...what is the hardest non-concerto work by Bottesini? I know his F# minor concerto and his Gran Duo are supposed to be really tough, but what is his toughest piece - in your personal experience - in terms of comparing his tarantella, his fantasies, and his melodies? Thanks for your help!
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Hi Bulldog!
    I had posted a wonderful answer, that took me many minutes to compose, then the system crashed.... so, I will try again:
    First, there are challenges to presentation of all music. I find nothing "hard" and I don't use the word in my teaching. Because what is challenging to one may not be to another. I hate to limit me or my students' progress and I find identifying something as "hard" can imply that certain limits are set: in technique or interpretation etc., and can cause frustration before it is warranted. SO... :)
    ... One of the most challenging pieces of Bottesini (non-concerti) for me is Tutto il Mondo Serra (Chopin Terzzeto), published by ISG Publications. In this piece, Bottesini took a rather well known Chopin prelude for piano and divided its three voices into a double bass, piano, and soprano piece that is not only challenging for all (but the pianist), but well-arranged and beautiful, with text added by Bottesini. Since the piano is arranged for db, you can imagine the extended range required. Bottesini reduced the number of notes required of the bassist a tad, to make it more practical (not "easier") for the ensemble.
    In the three volumes of Bottesini, published by Yorke Edition ("The Complete Bottesini" edited by Rodney Slatford), you will find most (not all) of the smaller pieces of Bottesini. This is a great collection and will guide you through most of the non-concerti. In there, the Bolero, is my favorite (and is challenging) but there are numerous "favorites" in there. One that is there but not in my favorite version is the Introduction and Gavotte (again, my fave is published by ISG Publications). It it only one of the three versions Bottesini composed. If you are into WHAT makes a composer/performer change his/her writing for specific occasions, the Intro. and Gavotte is a great piece from which to begin study.
    So, depending on what challenges you, Bottesini's music is a great source for life-long study (as is Bach, I might add). You might also dig the music of Luigi Negri. His music is much like Bottesini's in that he took famous opera tunes and arranged them for bass and piano (ISG Publications). Check out Reminiscenza or Capriccio.
    Best to you and have a great summer of study and self-indulgence!
    Patrick :hyper:
  3. bulldogbassist


    Jul 21, 2009
    Thanks for such a quick response, Patrick!

    Yeah, I hate when one writes at length, only to find that it is lost to the whims of the internet, for whatever reason...
    I really like and admire your philosophy on the futility of the word (and concept of) "hard", and I plan on adopting it!

    I am familiar with the York editions (and Bolero, especially!) and I thank you very much for bringing up the trio. I actually wanted to perform a voice duet/piano trio at some point so I will check it out, but it seems to be quite a grand piece! The Negri(s) sound exciting too! I will look into some of his works.

    Thank you for your help. :D