David Heyes: Three of a Kind: 3 double bass trios

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Double Bass Blog Publications
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About the Compositions

Three of a Kind brings together three double bass trios by David Heyes which were composed in 2014 and 2016. Aimed at the intermediate trio, each explores the lyrical and sonorous possibilities of the medium, primarily in the orchestral register of the instrument, creating works that are both audience and player-friendly.

INVOCATION

Invocation began life as a Christmas piece for unaccompanied female choir for a concert in December 2016. The choral version is wordless and the slow-moving harmonies and sound world lends itself well to the double bass trio, also playable by massed basses.

Centred around D minor, with a flattened 7th, an occasional open D string grounds the piece with high harmonics adding height and clarity. The version for double bass trio was rechristened Invocation, meaning "an incantation used to invoke a deity or the supernatural".

Invocation was premiered on Sunday 13 November 2016 at Wells & Mendip Museum (Wells, Somerset, UK) and received its US premiere in Los Angeles on 8 December 2016. The Spanish premiere was performed by massed basses, directed by the composer, at the Conservatorio de Culleredo (Galicia) on Sunday 19 February 2017 and the Australian premiere was in Brunswick, Melbourne on Monday 28 March 2022

"Invocation is gorgeous in its simplicity and promoted an interesting discussion about how to make a performance flow." [Gemma Ashcroft]

SERENITY - A Meditation for Sara

God, grant me the strength of eagle wings,
the faith and courage
to fly to new heights, and the wisdom
to rely on His spirit to carry me there.
- Native American Prayer for Serenity -

Serenity - a Meditation for Sara was originally scored for viola and two double basses, arranged for double bass trio, and is dedicated to the memory of Sara Scanlon. The music is slow moving initially, setting the mood, with a middle section which has more direction and momentum primarily pushed along by the repeated motif played by bass 3. It returns to the more solemn style towards the end with a sustained two-part chord which contrasts the cadenza-like music which begins in the

lowest register, quickly moving higher, played in harmonics and ending gently and hopefully with a feeling of resolution.

Serenity - A Meditation for Sara was rescored for double bass trio and premiered at the Purcell School (Bushey, Herts) on Sunday 24 July 2016, receiving its Czech premiere on Wednesday 21 September 2016 at the Academy of Music in Prague.

THE LAST POPPY

The Last Poppy was inspired by the amazingly evocative poppy installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014. Created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively filled the Tower's famous moat, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the First World War.

David Heyes writes: “More than 4 million people visited the poppies and my third visit, a few days before 11 November, was at 6.30am and just as the City of London was awakening. The site was almost empty and there was an eerie stillness that enhanced the beauty and poignancy of the poppies and what each one represented.

Driving back to Somerset a few ideas emerged and the form of the trio slowly took shape. The slow introduction, with its solemn and slow moving melody is set against a high harmonic drone, evoking the stillness of the early morning as London slowly awoke. The soloist then becomes the accompanist providing a grounding drone contrasting the more lyrical melodies, played in thirds, as the drama and futility of war is evoked with simple and evocative textures and themes.

The final section played entirely in harmonics, is gently unsettling as bass 3 challenges the melodic unity of the other basses, the music gently fading into the distance as a few notes of the Last Post are heard in the far distance. A brief silence is broken by a strong and positive D major chord, in six parts, which offers a chord of hope and reconciliation.”

The Last Poppy was premiered on 31 January 2015 at Wells Cathedral School (Somerset, UK) and received its US premiere on 12 April 2015 at The College of New Jersey (Ewing, New Jersey).

Please Note

The edition includes a score and three separate parts. Please use the first page of the score (bar/measure 1) for all basses followed by the relevant part.

Reviews

"Great piece, very effective and moving work for double bass trio." [Chris Clark, Double Bass Professor at The College of New Jersey, USA]

" It went over very well - a few people in the audience said it was their favourite piece." [Michael Cameron, Professor of Music, University of Illinois]

"VERY NICE!..meditative...playable, inspirational. Great job...composer!" [Barry Green]

"They adore it!!! I can't tell you how thrilled we all were with your piece! " [Michael Klinghoffer]

"...a dark and poet lamentation" [Steve Wragg]
"Love that piece. Simple and very moving." [ Neil Pye]

"...this has blown every audience away so far" [P. Kellach Waddle, Austin Symphony Orchestra, USA/Composer]

  • full score + bass parts

  • full score + bass parts
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David Heyes: Three of a Kind: 3 double bass trios

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