Memento Mori was composed in May 2018 and premiered by David Heyes (double bass) and Nick Tall (organ) at East Harptree Parish Church (Somerset, UK) on Saturday 9 June 2018. It received its Mexican premiere on 23 August 2018 by Marco Antonio Quinones Martinez (double bass) and Patricia Miravete (piano).
The music is slow and reflective, atmospheric and evocative. The solo line is generally simple and sustained, with a gently moving accompaniment which reflects the mood of the piece. Memento Mori is dedicated to the master luthier, Martin Penning, who was present for the premiere.
Although composed with organ accompaniment (manuals), it works equally well with piano and the edition includes two solo bass parts, one for orchestral and one for solo tuning.
David Heyes studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish and later at the Royal College of Music in London. He completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with Frantisek Posta (Principal Double Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 13 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, twice as chairman.
David has been Specialist Double Bass Tutor at Wells Cathedral School for 22 years and received 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. He works with composers throughout the world and is particularly interested to expand the double bass repertoire, by commissioning new works and by rediscovering forgotten ones. Over the past 30 years he has commissioned more than 500 works, from beginner to virtuoso, and from one to twenty basses.
David has transcribed more than 200 works for double bass, many published by Recital Music, and in recent years has also composed a number of original works for double bass which have been performed around the world. Since 2014 David has had music performed in 17 countries (UK, USA, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Japan, France and Spain). In November 2016 two of his songs were recorded by Sarah Poole (soprano) and Derek Harris (piano) for Prima Facie Records, and the company also recorded an entire CD of works by David in January 2017. David is self-taught as a composer and his music has been described as lyrical and accessible, but certainly of the 21st-century.
"It was fascinating to have the composer, David Heyes, show us how his music should be played and help us to play a variety of extended techniques. I now have new repertoire to work on and a clear idea of what it is supposed to sound like!" [LONDON BASSES workshop participant]
"Today's double bassists are indebted to composers who wrote for this forefather of the double bass. Double bassists of today are indebted to David Heyes for his extensive publishing work, his compositions, and his commissioning of works for the double bass." [David B. Teague]
"Double bassist and composer, David Heyes (UK) is keeping the tradition alive, teaching a new generation and composing works that build upon a diverse repertoire for our beloved instrument......" [Stafford James, American bassist, composer, educator]