Biography[ edit ] Born in Crema, Lombardy , he was taught the rudiments of music by his father, an accomplished clarinetist and composer, at a young age and had played timpani in Crema with the Teatro Sociale before the age of eleven. He studied violin with Carlo Cogliati, and probably would have continued on this instrument except for a unique turn of events. Only two positions were available: double bass and bassoon. He prepared a successful audition for the double bass scholarship in a matter of weeks. At the conservatory, he studied with Luigi Rossi, to whom he would later dedicate his Tre grandi duetti per contrabasso. Only four years later, a surprisingly short time by the standards of the day, he left with a prize of francs for solo playing.
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Notes and Editorial Reviews Pleasant and tuneful music, played with understanding and affectionate respect. This attractive sampler of the music of Giovanni Bottesini, famous as a virtuoso of the double-bass and also a competent composer and successful conductor - he conducted the Cairo premiere of Aida in - was originally issued as ASV DCA Bottesini was one of those Italian musicians who found themselves labelled - or more likely invented the label as a marketing device?
Some of the music he wrote to show off his technique and his technical innovations is of little enduring interest, save to those who have a specialist concern with it.
But, for the most part, the music on this present CD, while hardly of major importance, has a wider appeal. The Gran Duo opens with a heroic march which would not be out of place in the opera house and more than a few of its melodies are reminiscent of the same environment.
Instead we hear a version prepared by the violinist Camillo Sivori , with whom Bottesini sometimes toured. There are some strikingly high notes required of the bassist, as well as some testing pianissimos. Thomas Martin meets the demands pretty well, though here, and elsewhere on the disc, one would have liked to hear some slightly more assertive playing, some greater sense of instrumental display.
Garcia plays with a rather greater sense of showmanship, perhaps better suited to the spirit of the music. The Andante sostenuto for strings is an impassioned piece which sounds rather like an operatic intermezzo and would pass muster on the modern concert platform as part of a programme by a good chamber orchestra - and it is certainly played by one here.
In the Duetto for Clarinet and Double-Bass Emma Johnson and Thomas Martin exchange phrases with an attractive sense of dialogue and though no great depths are plumbed, this makes for pleasant, relaxed listening. The Gran Concerto which closes the disc is in three movements and is a rather more searching work.
The writing for double-bass here goes beyond any sense of simple showmanship, however impressive. There is more musical substance and complexity here, the musical structures are more elaborate and the harmonies sometimes a little unexpected.
Yet at the heart of the concerto, as at the heart of most of the music by Bottesini which I have heard, there is an essential simplicity, a kind of directness of feeling, a sense of social conversation, which while it may not make for music of great profundity certainly led Bottesini to the composition of music which is tuneful, accessible and consistently pleasant.
Grand Duo Concertante
Gran dúo concertante para violín y contrabajo
Rossini: Sonate a quattro & Bottesini: Gran Duo Concertante