Recital Music publish a wealth of original works for double bass alongside a popular, accessible and growing range of transcriptions for bassists of all ages and abilities. Most transcriptions published by Recital Music are by David Heyes, who has a successful and proven track record when arranging for double bass.
Bartok's 44 Duos for Two Violins were composed in 1931 at the request of the German violinist and teacher Erich Doflein, to provide young musicians with structured technical studies, and to introduce them to folk music. The melodies originate in countries of the Slovak region, and two feature a melody composed by Bartók himself. They are rife with bi-tonal passages, poly-rhythms and many brash dissonances. The 44 Duos are divided in four books, where the pieces advance in difficulty.
David Heyes has selected 15 from books 1 and 2 which lend themselves easily to being transcribed for double basses. Each one has its own character and style, none lasting more than a minute, offering musical and technical challenges in equal measure. They continue to have both a didactic and performance element and would easily fit into any student recital or concert demonstrating the versatility of the double bass. The duos could easily be played by violin or viola and double bass, and any number of pieces can be played and in any order. The possibilities are endless.
Béla Bartók was born in the Hungarian town of Nagyszentmiklós (now Sînnicolau Mare in Romania) on 25 March 1881. After his family moved to Pressburg (now Bratislava in Slovakia) in 1894, he studied with László Erkel and became a student at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, graduating in 1903.
Bartók's earliest works combine late Romanticism with nationalist elements and in the early years of the 20th-century he and fellow-composer Zoltán Kodály directed their attention to Hungarian folk music and Bartók's musical language changed dramatically. Bartók was a passionate ethnomusicologist, and collected songs fromTransylvanian, Romanian, North African and others. In the 1920s and '30s Bartók's fame spread, and he toured widely, both as pianist and as a respected composer.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, and despite his deep attachment to his homeland, life in Hungary became intolerable and Bartók and his wife emigrated to the United States. He obtained a post at Columbia University and was able to pursue his folk-music studies, but his concert engagements became rarer, and he received few commissions. Koussevitzky's request for a Concerto for Orchestra in 1943 was particularly important, bringing him much-needed income, and creating a nice link to the double bass world. Bartók died on 26 September 1945.
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