Multimedia

Tuning the Bass in Fifths

Someone studying the history of the Double bass would soon see that two basic factors determined our instrument’s evolution. First and foremost was the influence of composers and their drive for the low “C”…

Erich Korngold video performance

Recorded live in concert in Montreal as part of the Jazz en Rafale concert series.

Professional Headshots

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Brothers in Brahms

In 2003, I was asked by Simon Wynberg, the music director of the ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) to perform Robert Fuchs’ “Double Bass Sonata op.97” in a program entitled “Brothers in Brahms.” I became rather smitten by this unjustly neglected work and I started planning the best way to present it in a recording…

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Virtuoso Reality

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Joel Quarrington – the non-conformist, the rebel, the rabble-rouser? Hardly the adjectives we would expect to describe a talented classical musician, let alone a Double bass player. But Joel Quarrington is all of these, and more.

Bottesini-vol.2

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It was a curious twist of fate that produced the nineteenth century’s reigning double bass virtuoso. When a lad of fourteen, Giovanni Bottesini had already greatly developed his musical talents, as a choirboy, a violinist, and a timpani player. His father sought a place for him in the Milan Conservatory, but found only two were available: for bassoon and for double bass…

Double bass: A History

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Fifth tuning would be both logical and rational, were it not for the resulting fingering difficulties, which had already caused its rejection at about the end of the 18th century. It was tested again in 1895 by Viseur, a professor at the Paris Conservatory. Although he succeeded in convincing several other bass players to take up this system of tuning, it was once again abandoned soon after his death…

Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White

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I am very pleased that the famous jazz author Gene Lees has allowed me to reprint some of his interview with the real fifths legend and pioneer Red Mitchell.This excerpt is from Mr. Lees outstanding book “Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White” from Da Capo press 2001.

About Joel

For over thirty years, Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and most recently, the famous London Symphony Orchestra.

Tuning in Fifths

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The system of tuning in fifths is a legacy of the violin family. For this reason, the conditions of the introduction of the tuning C G d a in late 17th-century Italy are best understood thought a rapid survey of the early development of that instrumental family.
By Paul Brün

Bottesini-vol.1

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Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889)
Works for Double Bass and Piano Vol. 1

It was a curious twist of fate that produced the nineteenth century’s reigning double bass virtuoso. When a boy of fourteen, Bottesini had already greatly developed his musical talents as a choirboy, a violinist, and a timpani player. His father sought a place for him in the Milan Conservatory, but found only two were available; for bassoon, and double bass. Double bass it was, then. He prepared a successful audition in a matter of weeks, and only four years later, a surprisingly short time by the standards of the day, still a teenager, he left with a prize of 300 francs for solo playing. This money financed the acquisition of an instrument of Carlo Testore, and a globe-trotting career as “the Paganini of the Double Bass” was launched.

Garden Scene

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Garden Scene

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was one of the most gifted child prodigies in music history and was often compared to Mozart. He was born in what is now Brno, Czech Republic, on May 29th 1897 and moved to Vienna when he was four. Many of his teenage works were championed by the greatest musical minds of the era, including Mahler, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Zemlinsky, Schnabel, Nikisch, Weingartner and Bruno Walter. His most celebrated opera, Die Tote Stadt, dates from 1920 as does his incidental music to a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing; the Garden Scene on this recording is drawn from the violin and piano arrangement of that orchestral score.