Ukko is the God of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder in Finnish mythology. In folk poems and prayers he is also given the epithet Ylijumala, which means Supreme God, probably because of his status as the most highly regarded God and his traditional domain is in the heavens.
David Heyes writes: "This quartet was composed for my younger students at Wells Cathedral School, all aged from 11-14 years, and for a concert to celebrate the music of the legendary Finnish bassist-composer, Teppo Hauta-aho, on Friday 3 May 2019. I wanted the piece to have a Finnish theme or influence and Teppo suggested the title which I thought was perfect. Recently I have composed several fast and rhythmic quartets for the junior basses and wanted to write something which was much slower and more atmospheric to develop different playing skills. Each part is carefully graded for a specific ability level, with Bass 1 playing in low thumb position and Bass 4 remaining in 1st position throughout. The melodic material is shared between the parts, with the addition of Bartok pizz., glissandi and harmonics, to add contrast and colour. A four bar ground bass, played in open fifths by basses 3 and 4, acts as a unifying theme above which the melodic interest is displayed. The bleak and vast Finnish landscapes of forests and lakes was the inspiration behind the piece, with thunderbolts added by Bass 4, and introduces music to younger players creating musical landscapes which are atmospheric, dramatic and evocative."
Legend No.1 'Ukko Ylijumala' was premiered by The Bass Legends in Quilter Hall, Wells Cathedral School (Somerset, UK) on Friday 3 May 2019.
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 Frantisek Posta (Principal 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, alongside a thriving and busy private teaching studio, and for a year was Contemporary Performer-in-Residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He is a founder member of Basso Bravura! (with soprano Sarah Poole), co-founded the Bristol Bass Club and London Basses Workshops and is Artistic Director of Bass-Fest. 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 1990 more than 500 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 has transcribed and performed a wealth of music for double bass and in recent years has composed a number of original works which have been performed both nationally and internationally. Six works inspired by the centenary of the First World War have been particularly successful and his choral and vocal music has been performed with success in Britain, Ireland and America. He composed 'Sahara' for unaccompanied double bass as the imposed work for the 2015 Galicia Graves Double Bass competition in Spain and returns there as Featured Composer and guest tutor in 2017. Since 2014 David has had music performed in 23 countries (UK, USA, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Malta, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Japan, France, Slovakia, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, Spain and Guatamala). 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.
In 1986 David founded the publishing company Recital Music, which now has the largest catalogue of double bass music in the world, and has written articles and reviews for the leading specialist magazines including The Strad, Bass News, Music Teacher, Double Bassist, ESTA News & Views and Classical Music.
David Heyes is a D'Addario Performing Artist and has recently commissioned a solo double bass from British master-luthier Martin Penning.