Lamentations is dedicated to Jan Krigovsky and the Slovak Double Bass Club and is dark and brooding, evocative and atmospheric, using much of the range of the solo double bass. It is based on the notes E flat-D-C-B, suggested by Jan Krigovsky, and is episodic with the opening theme returning intermittently as a unifying factor. Lamentations exploits the lyrical and sonorous qualities of the double bass, with simple performance effects added for contrast. A repeating bell-like open G string, played pizzicato with the left hand, adds a recurring drone, sometimes above or often below the melodic interest.
Lamentations was premiered by Glen Rodriguez on Thursday 26 July 2018 in Guanare, Venezuela.
US Premiere: Sunday 12 August 2018, Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church, New Jersey (USA), Chris Clark
UK Premiere: Saturday 22 September 2018, Wells Cathedral School, Wells, Somerset, Emma Sullivan
Slovakian Premiere: Saturday 6 October 2018, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, Jan Krigovsky
German Premiere: Sunday 27 October 2018, Muhldorf am Inn, Germany, Dan Styffe
Austrian Premiere: Friday 8 February 2019, Graz University, Jan Krigovsky
This We Know
This We Know was composed on 6/7 June 2018 and is dedicated to the legendary double bassist Bert Turetzky as an 85th birthday tribute. It flows along smoothly and simply with the musical line dictating the dynamic range and momentum. A more dramatic middle section, employing double stops (4ths/5ths) in the solo register interrupts the melodic flow before the piece relaxes back into the music of the opening section. The glissandos should always be sultry and seductive.
The title is taken from the words of Chief Seattle:
This we know
The earth does not belong to man;
Man belongs to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected,
Like the blood which unites one family
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth,
Befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life;
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
He does to himself.
Chief Seattle (c.1780 - 7 June 1866), more correctly known as Seathl, was a Susquamish chief who lived on the islands of the Puget Sound. As a young warrior, Chief Seattle was known for his courage, daring and leadership. He gained control of six of the local tribes and continued the friendly relations with the local population that had been established by his father. His now famous speech was believed to have been given in December 1854. The city of Seattle is named after the Chief.
This We Know was premiered by David Heyes at the Church of St Laurence, East Harptree (Somerset) on Saturday 9 June 2018. Its American premiere was on Wednesday 11 July 2018 at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas) by Bill Zauner (double bass) and its Australian premiere on Sunday 26 August 2018 at Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School (Melbourne) by Emma Sullivan.
Syrinx is dedicated to Glen Rodriguez in Venezuela and features the lyrical and sonorous possibilities of the double bass, primarily in its orchestral register. The opening bars of Debussy's masterpiece for flute have influenced the musical narrative of the piece, particularly its rhythm and chromatic opening phrase. Sul ponticello (at the bridge) has been introduced to vary the colours and timbres, and the middle section features music of a more dramatic nature which gradually decreases in momentum and drive as it moves into a higher register. The piece ends slowly and atmospherically repeating the chromatic motif as the music recedes into the far distance.
Syrinx was premiered by David Heyes on Saturday 17 February 2018 at Wolvercote Hall (Oxford, UK) and received its Irish premiere by David Whitla (double bass) at Triskel Arts Centre (Cork City, Eire) on Saturday 24 February 2018.
L’Alborada - Mallorcan Memories No.2
L’Alborada is inspired by a festival in the town of Pollensa, on the island of Mallorca, and is dedicated to Luis Guillermo Pérez in Venezuela. On 2 August each year, Pollensa celebrates the day of its patroness, Our Lady of the Angels. The inhabitants dress in white and in colours to receive their patroness and to defend their town from attack by enemy pirates in a mock battle between the Christians and the Moors. The festival begins at 5.00am when, after the street party, the band strikes up the Alborada, first performed in 1882.
L’Alborada is in two parts with slow, lyrical and Moorish-inspired melodies, interspersed with evocative strummed pizzicato chords, before the mock battle is recreated with frenzied and exciting music which pushes forward to a fast and explosive conclusion.
L’Alborada was premiered by David Heyes on Saturday 10 March 2018 at Galicia Graves, Conservatorio de Culleredo, Galicia, Spain. David also gave its UK premiere on Saturday 29 September 2018 at Church of St Laurence, East Harptree, Somerset.
Three Nocturnes were commissioned by P. Kellach Waddle in Texas (USA), to whom they are also dedicated. They were composed in November/December 2018 and revised and completed on 26/27 December. The overall mood is dark and evocative, exploring the lower register of the double bass primarily, with slow tempi and a generally expressive and legato feel throughout. Nocturne No.2 employs simple harmonics in lower positions with an open string drone played pizzicato, contrasting the dark and brooding sounds of the first nocturne which is slow moving and sonorous. Nocturne No.3 has more momentum than the other two, and is also rhapsodic and sustained, with changing bar lengths and a recurring melodic motif which adds unity and cohesion. The tempos remain fairly constant throughout, although the music should have ebb and flow, with a palette of dark colours to explore the mysterious and atmospheric potential of the solo double bass.
Nocturne No.2 was premiered by David Heyes on Saturday 12 January 2019 at Wells & Mendip Museum, Wells, Somerset.
He la nani keia la (Today is a Beautiful Day)
2017 marked the 85th birthday of American composer Armand Russell and this one-minute piece was composed as a birthday tribute. Armand spent much of his working life as a university professor in Hawaii, hence the title, and the piece is both lyrical and flowing celebrating the cantabile potential of the double bass in its middle register.
He la nani keia la was premiered by David Heyes on Sunday 23 April 2017 at the Silk Mill, Frome, Somerset.
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 20 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 since 2014 he has had music performed in 18 countries (UK, USA, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Japan, France, Slovakia and Spain). In November 2016 two of his songs were recorded by Sarah Poole (soprano) and Derek Harris (piano) for Prima Facie Records, who 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, evocative and accessible, but certainly of the 21st-century.