Jeff Bradetich, internationally acclaimed double bassist, music professor, and editor at Ovation Press, has recorded three fantastic video interviews on his exclusive arrangements. With these pairings, we have great insight into the minds behind the music.
The videos and text below can be found on their original pages at Ovation Press.
One of the mostimportant issues in determining the merit of transcriptions is if the different instrument can bring the piece to life in a way that enhances what the music has to say. The double bass, with its rich profound tonal palette, can probe the depths of expression that a work like Kol Nidrei demands and shed new light on its meaning.
Bruch completed this composition in Liverpool before it was first published in Berlin in 1881. It is styled as an Adagio on 2 Hebrew Melodies for Cello and Orchestra with Harp and consists of a series of variations on two main themes of Jewish origin. The first theme, which also lends the piece its title, comes from the Kol Nidrei prayer recited during the evening service on Yom Kippur. In Bruch’s setting of the melody, the cello imitates the rhapsodical voice of the hazzan who chants the liturgy in the synagogue. The second subject of the piece is quoted from the middle section of Isaac Nathan’s arrangement of “O Weep for those that wept on Babel’s stream,” a lyric which was penned by Byron in a collection called Hebrew Melodies.
Ever since the landmark recording of the Eccles Sonata by Gary Karr in the early stages of his career, this work has become the theme song for bass players throughout the world. This edition includes a written-out ornamentation of the first movement and fingering suggestions in the last movement that help navigate the often confusing terrain of the fingerboard.
English composer Henry Eccles (1671-1742) played in the court of King Louis XIV as a member of the French King’s band. In 1720 he published Twelve Solos for the Violin in two books of which 18 movements are actually from Giuseppe Valentini’s Allettamenti per camera Op. 8 and one movement is from F.A. Bonporti’s Invenzioni Op. 10; the rest are composed by Eccles. A second set of violin sonatas (including two flute sonatas) followed in 1723.
The Sonatensatz allows bass players to bring out the dramatic driving and singing qualities that were to become the hallmark of Brahms’ music.
As the third movement (Scherzo) of a collaborative work by Johannes Brahms, Albert Dietrich, and Robert Schumann, entitled the F-A-E Sonata, the Sonatensatz was a surprise gift for the renowned violinist Joseph Joachim. Joachim’s motto “Frei Aber Einsam” (Free but Lonely) served as the inspiration for the title “F-A-E” rather than the keys. Dietrich composed the first movement Allegro. Schumann provided an Intermezzo for the second movement, as well as the Finale. Brahms’ Scherzo movement took on a life of its own outside of the sonata thanks to Joachim. Although the premiere was given in 1853, the work was only published posthumously in 1906 and was originally written for Violin. Double bass players in general love the music of Brahms and often perform the 1st movement of the e minor cello sonata successfully. The Sonatensatz allows bass players to bring out the dramatic driving and singing qualities that were to become the hallmark of Brahms’ music.