David Heyes: Finnish Sketches for unaccompanied double bass

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About the Compositions

Finnish Sketches is a series of eleven colorful and evocative works for unaccompanied double bass. Nine last around one minute each and the final two are longer, and all were composed for Teppo-Fest 2016 to celebrate the 75th birthday of the Finnish bassist-composer Teppo Hauta-aho (1941-2021).

The theme for each piece is taken from the Kalevala, a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology.

The musical style is modern but tonal and accessible, employing a range of playing styles and effects to create a series of atmospheric, inventive, and imaginative mini tone-poems for the intermediate bassist.

1. Lintukoto (Home of the Birds) - dedicated to Teppo Hauta-aho

"Very nice piece I played it few minutes ago and tried to call you Thanks!"

[Teppo Hauta-aho]

"Lintukoto has a simple yet restless beauty to it (so hard to achieve, in my view). It 'feels' very Scandinavian; at least, an inkling of Nielsen's music – nothing specific – came to mind when I was going through it. It is a complete and impressive miniature and I can see why it is your favourite." [John Alexander]

2. Luonnotar (Nature-Spirit) - dedicated to Alexander Heather

"I found Luonnotar expressively atmospheric and, again, there's something Scandinavian about it: an open freedom, coolly fresh, texturally interesting. I look forward to hearing the range of fascinating effects sprinkled through this piece..." [John Alexander]

3. Tapio (God of the Forest) - dedicated to Peter McLoughlin

"I like the variations in the germ of the idea(s) in Tapio and the pulling about of the tempi, allowing the piece to seemingly both flow and haltingly question in an almost contradictory manner that tellingly holds the attention...." [John Alexander]

4. Jumala (God of the Sky) - dedicated to Thea Sayer

"Jumala is a strong little piece and I very much enjoyed the repetition of small phrases along with their variations..." [John Alexander]

5. Nyyrikki (God of the Hunt) - dedicated to Pinar Pınar Baltacıgil

6. Väinämöinen (God-Hero) - dedicated to Max van der Linden

7. Aarnivalkea (Eternal Flame) - dedicated to Richard Dunn

8. Ahto (God of the Sea) - dedicated to Chris Clark

9. Aarni (Guardian of Hidden Treasures) - dedicated to Marco Antonio Quiñones Martinez

10. Tuonela (Land of the Dead) - dedicated to Dritan Gani

"I loved the two pieces you played tonight "Tuonela - Land of the Dead" totally took me away..." [James Rintoul]

11. Ilmarinen (Spirit of Air - Maker of Heaven) - dedicated to Jason Heath Ilmarinen (pronounced - IL- MAH - REE - NEN) is atmospheric and evocative, based on letters from Jason Heath’s name (A - E flat/D sharp - B - E), and employs a wide range of colors and effects. Primarily in the orchestral register of the instrument but with the occasional foray into the solo register, the very highest harmonics create an ethereal effect that contrasts music of a more direct and sonorous character. A repeated semiquaver (16th note) figure could depict the eternal hammering of this legendary character or simply the gentle moving of time and space.

"Ilmarinen is so beautiful and powerful - when I played it at my recital, several people begged to play it! It's just too beautiful!" [Susan Hagen/Boston Pops Orchestra, USA]

"I would like to congratulate you for your piece, I had a lot of fun working on it!"

[José Trigo]

About the Composer

David Heyes studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish, later at the Royal College of Music in London, and completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with František Pošta (Principal Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 20 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, three times as chairman.

David's collaborative work gained him a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering activities as a soloist, teacher, publisher, and commissioner of new music for double bass and he works with composers throughout the world to expand the double bass repertoire by commissioning new music and by rediscovering forgotten ones. Since 1983 more than 700 works have been written for him, music from one to twenty basses and from beginner to virtuoso, and he has premiered ten contemporary concertos with orchestra.

David began to compose in 2013 and has had music performed and recorded in 27 countries across five continents. He is a D'Addario Performing Artist and has recently commissioned a solo double bass from British master-luthier Martin Penning.

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David Heyes: Finnish Sketches for unaccompanied double bass

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