David Heyes: Bessy's Beginner Bass Trios
Bessy's Beginner Bass Trios
3 double basses
David Heyes writes: "Composing for the beginner bass ensemble is a great challenge to a composer and, fortunately, my experience as a professional double bassist and teacher helped with many aspects of both pieces. My plan is to compose six Bessy Bass Quartets in total, two for beginners, two for progressing bassists and two for the intermediate quartet, which will also be available in versions for double bass trio. The two beginner trios are primarily in 1st position, with a few easy harmonics in 4th position, with a number of playing techniques introduced, such as col legno, sul ponticello, Bartok pizz. and bass percussion, to create interest and contrasts.
The low tessitura of the beginner bass trio has the potential to be muddy and unfocused but, with careful editing and writing, the textures can be open and bright offering exciting challenges for the performers alongside music which is enjoyable for audiences. I tried to make each part interesting and both pieces will work as a trio or with massed forces and it was also interesting to arrange the quartet version for bass trio.
1) Bessy's Big Day out is lively and fun with a limited number of notes and rhythms suitable for young bassists. The addition of harmonics in 4th position creates height alongside sul ponticello and col legno used to vary the textures and timbres. The melodic interest is passed between basses 1 and 3 with each player an important part of the team.
2) Bessy's Highland Fling uses the 'Scotch snap' throughout, alongside bagpipe effects, producing a piece which is Scottish from beginning to end. There is a strong forward momentum, with the repetition of themes and rhythms, and the addition of bass percussion from Bass 3 adds character and drive. More challenging than 'Bessy's Big Day Out', this is a fun and energetic piece which would make an ideal final item in any concert."