Wednesday’s concert of Double Bass performances was a pleasure to watch and an insight into the diversity of this unique instrument.
Yuri Bryars opened the performance with a confident Corrente from Vivaldi’s Sonata No. 6 RV 46. This was a lively performance and Yuri made effective use of the tenor register of the bass while mastering tricky rhythmic ideas. Dickon Fell then performed the Largo and the Allegro from Sonata No.2 RV 41 by Vivaldi. The Largo was eloquent and stately and the Allegro played with great character and accomplished authority.
John Blewett then performed, in duet with Oakham Double Bass teacher, Miss Gemma Murray. This was a fun and entertaining piece, Canon en Écrevisse by Cherubini. The fascinating structure is inspired by the movement of a crab (as titled). The duo displayed a lovely sense of ensemble. Finn Simpson’s performance of Tambourin by Gossec was well communicated and a very polished performance. This was followed by Suite im Alten Stil by Fryba performed by the inspirational Gemma Murray. Her mastery of the double bass was quite astonishing - this piece demands the limits of solo technique. The Allemande was both moving and plaintive, revealing a very beautiful sound from the double bass. Double stopping and open string ostinatos characterised the playful and engaging Gigue.
To finish the recital the bass players came together as an ensemble including Lower One bassist Leo Breag. They performed the Ciacona la Nicolai and the Galliarde by Bylina. There was a fluent musical line throughout with well-maintained underlying momentum in the harmonic rhythm. Descending sequences were accomplished and the Galliarde provided a rousing and triumphant end to an excellent recital.