Da Vinci 500 Book 1

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BERNARD SALLES (France): Da Vinci 500 - Four Pieces
1.Leonardo da Vinci
2. L’Homme de Vitruve
3. La Viege aux Rochers
4. Mona Lisa (La Joconde)

"When David Heyes launched the ‘Da Vinci 500’ project, I immediately wanted to participate. Leonardo was such a fascinating man; a genius for all humanity! Not only a fabulous painter, but a tireless inventor, a visionary and a great humanist: how could I refuse to honour such a great man? Leonardo da Vinci thought that man should actively try to fight against evil and do good: “He who does not punish evil commands it to be done”. It is the role of all creators (myself included), to try and construct whilst there are so many people who wish to destroy. He had no illusions about the nature or mankind, and how his inventions might be used, as he explained in the introduction to the presentation of his submarine: “I do not describe my method of remaining underwater for as long a time as I can remain without food. This I do not publish or divulge on account of the evil nature of men who would practice assassinations at the bottom of the seas, by breaking the ships in their lowest parts and sinking them together with the crews who are in them.” The 20th century unfortunately proved him right. Leonardo da Vinci also placed moral rewards well above material ones: “That which can be lost cannot be deemed riches. Virtue is our true wealth and the true reward of its possessor; it cannot be lost; it never deserts us until life leaves us.” [Bernard Salles]

Leonardo da Vinci & L’Homme de Vitruve were premiered by Dritan Gani (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

La Viege aux Rochers & Mona Lisa were premiered by Alexander Heather (double bass) on Sunday 5 May 2019 at Village Hall, Templecombe, Somerset.

GRAHAM BOAG (Oman/UK): Da Vinci’s Flying Machine
"I was delighted when David Heyes approached me to write something for this fantastic project. As I thought about what to write it was almost a case of where do I start. However, there was one thing that kept coming back in my mind and that was the drawings Da Vinci had done of anatomy especially of birds and in particular their wings. This was an obvious inspiration to the great man as he went on to wonder if a human could experience the same freedom of flight. He would go on to draw several different types of flying." [Graham Boag]

Da Vinci’s Flying Machine was premiered by Dritan Gani (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

ADAM BOOKER (USA): Vitruvian
"Vitruvian, written for Da Vinci 500, a celebration of the great Renaissance artist, scientist, and inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci, was created by juxtaposing the circle of fifths over Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man." The resulting pitch collection yields an axis of symmetry centred on F sharp, with a minor third in either direction, and continuing a four-note chromatic cell on either side. Essentially, C, D-flat, D Natural, E-flat - F# - A, B-flat, B natural, and C. The style, in a nod to Da Vinci's Italian heritage, is that of a Tarantella. The piece should be performed aggressively, with a short, staccato bordering on spiccato stroke, unless otherwise specified. The challenge for the performer is allowing the notes in the lower register to speak clearly in several dynamic ranges."

Vitruvian was premiered by Dritan Gani (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

LUIS GUILLERMO PÉREZ (Venezuela): 4 Pieces for Leonardo
1. Search (Ricercar)
2. Recurring Ideas (Interludio)
3. Alchemy
4. Bird Man
1. Search (Ricercar): Ricercar in Italian means to search and is a musical predecessor of the fugue which appeared in the Baroque. It consisted of a phrase that was enriched but always conserving the initial motives, developing or expanding them using the different types of imitations. I considered it prudent to start this group of 4 pieces, assuming that da Vinci's genius would use those first ideas to develop his inventions and also his artistic works.
2. Recurring Ideas (Interlude): The artist in his creative process uses small ideas, which in music we call motives, these are repeated again and again turning in our mind, often tormenting us, until we get an order or balance and the final work appears. In the case of a genius such as Leonardo da Vinci, masterpieces, some or many of them questioned, others are visionary or prophetic.
3. Alchemy - Although in his notebook da Vinci criticised the pretension of man in imitating nature and trying to produce gold from other metals, he was considered by some as an alchemist, esoteric and belonging to a circle or sects of elect, as happened with other geniuses in different countries. The geniuses transform the coarsest and simple into gold and into wonders and they are true magicians in all the disciplines that entered. This piece presumes to describe in sound this side of the Italian genius.
4. Bird Man - da Vinci believed that man could fly, making the study of birds in their anatomy and the physics of flight, which is shown by his inventions and plans considered as precursors of flying ships of our day. This brief study simulates with sounds and speed the flutter of a bird's flight. [Luis Guillermo Pérez]

Search was premiered by David Heyes (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

Recurring Ideas was premiered by Alexander Heather (double bass) on Sunday 5 May 2019 at Village Hall, Templecombe, Somerset.

Alchemy was premiered by Dritan Gani (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

Bird Man was by Alexander Heather (double bass) on Sunday 5 May 2019 at Village Hall, Templecombe, Somerset

ERIC FUNK (USA): nalVurtlV Op.151
“It’s an unusual piece, using a little Golden Ration and Fibonacci Sequence and even a couple of rhythmically modified musical phrases Da Vinci himself composed. The title looks quite strange but, because Leonardo was so into mirror writing and hiding things in his paintings, I thought it fun to create a title that was obscure, but if you look closely and use retrograde, you will see that the two Roman numeral fours are the letters “v” and “I” backwards, the title then, read backwards, being “Vitruvian”. Since another American composer used Vitruvian for his piece, beating me to the punch, I decided to be a bit cryptic and playful with this." [Eric Funk]

nalVurtlV was premiered by David Heyes (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

“Leonardo da Vinci's mural painting known as ‘The Last Supper’ was painted on a wall of the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, between 1495 and 1498. In it Leonardo has captured the widely varied reactions of the twelve apostles as Jesus told them one of the twelve would betray him. Leonardo was famously aware of ratios and their effect on balance and perspective, and it has been noted that one can in this painting find references to numbers that occur in what is known as the “Fibonacci Series”: there is 1 table, 1 central figure, 2 side walls, 3 windows behind Jesus, 5 groups of figures, 8 panels on the walls and 8 table legs, and 13 individual figures (the twelve apostles and Jesus). (Susan D. White) In the Fibonacci sequence, each number (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 13) is generated by adding the two numbers that precede it in the sequence. In a bow to da Vinci, this composition makes use of the Fibonacci sequence of numbers - they are superimposed on the overtone series of G (G1, G2, D3, G3, B3, D4, F4, G4, A4,B4, C#5, D5, Eb5), as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 13th partials (inclusive of any lower partials) are introduced, each in turn, as the sections of the composition progress. The single measure of silence that opens the piece (0, the void) is followed by a short section built on the single tone G1 (1, the central figure, Jesus). This is followed by sections that make use of two tones (G1 and G2), three (G1, G2, D3), five (G1, G2, D3, G3, B3), and so on. The initial sparsity of tones is intentional, and meant to be reflective of the resolute calmness of Jesus in the face of the suffering he must soon endure. As the composition progresses new partials are added in sequence, and the pitches (used in their initial octave only) of any lower partials remain in the ever growing tonal palette. For example, when the 5th partial “B3” is introduced, pitches of the partials lower than B3 (partials 1 thru 4, G1, G2, D3, G3) remain in or are added to the mix. With the introduction of the 8th and 13th partials all notes used up to this point are transposed freely to any octave. Notes now accumulated include G, A, B, C#, D, Eb, F, G, making possible a musical representation of the cacophony produced (and painted by Leonardo) as the twelve apostles react variously to the news of their teacher’s betrayal. As a final short section recaps the calm of the opening measures we might envision Jesus praying alone in the Garden of Gethsemane. [Michael Montgomery]

The Last Supper was premiered by David Heyes (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

JAMES MARSHALL (USA): Fresco for Leonardo
“Fresco for Leonardo was composed on Commission by David Heyes for the Da Vinci 500 project commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci on 2 May 2019. Leonardo was perhaps one of the keenest and sensitive minds in recorded history. I chose the title 'Fresco for Leonardo' referring to his painting 'The Last Supper' painted in fresco style. Fresco is a technique that paints with watercolours that dry quickly on a wall surface. His life, like all mortals, was a brief illumination. Like the flame of a lighted candle, quickly doused, not unlike the watercolours of the quickly painted fresco. The expressive, tempo indication of the piece is “illuminating”. Musically, the piece develops from the interval of the fifth and upward to the octave (D, A, D) thus alluding to the number 500 and first letters of Da Vinci. The fourth from A to D is the interval of the tuning of the Contrabass. Various subtle bowing and pizzicato colorations are utilized as well as harmonics. These colorations were the trademark of Contrabass artist Bertram Turetzky whom David Heyes and Wells Cathedral School honoured with a Celebration in on 4 November 2018 of his 85th birthday.”

Fresco for Leonardo was premiered by David Heyes (double bass) on Thursday 2 May 2019 at Silk Mill West, Frome, Somerset.

Cat No. RM1044
Supplier Code RM1044
Price £12.50
ComposersGraham Boag
Adam Booker
Eric Funk
James Marshall
Michael Montgomery
Luis Guillermo Perez
Bernard Salles
CategoryDouble Bass Solo
Difficulty level7 - 8, Advanced
Weight 163 grams
Published 9th September 2019
Availability 8 in stock