Io

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Price £6.00

The planet Jupiter has 16 moons, of which four were discovered by Galileo in 1610. Of these four Galilean satellites, Io is the closest to Jupiter, orbiting the planet every 42 hours. It is slightly larger than our own moon. Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System: the liquid sulphur erupts from its molten centre, solidifying to form the red, orange and yellow surface. The large numbers of volcanic flows are so extensive and so frequent that the entire satellite is being resurfaced to an average of one centimetre a year. To quote Ian Ridpath, in Collins' 'Guide to the Stars and Planets' (1986), "Io recycles its interior onto its surface, endlessly turning itself inside out." It is this latter aspect which I have attempted to exploit in this little piece. [John Alexander]

Io was commissioned by David Heyes for DOUBLE BASS 2000, a project to commission 100 works for double bass over a ten year period, with funds provided by Double Bassist magazine. It was premiered at Trinity College of Music (London) on 8 October 2000 by Viktor Obsust (Double Bass) and Mark Ray (Piano). Io was first published in 'Bass-in-Space' which is no longer in print.

A generally sparse accompaniment allows the double bassist to create long melodic lines and phrases in the orchestral register. The approach is lyrical, but in a modern idiom, and offers effective musical and technical challenges for the adventurous bassist. This would make a useful introduction to contemporary music and utilises a range of playing styles (arco, pizzicato, Bartok pizz, sul ponticello, glissandi) which add contrast and interest to this very accessible and inventive miniature for double bass and piano.


John Alexander was born in West Sussex in 1942 and began to compose at the age of 20. At the time he discovered a fascination for art, literature, dance, architecture and sculpture and these topics, along with mathematics, have continued to have a bearing on his work. He studied composition with Edmund Rubbra at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and later with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex.

John Alexander has never been a prolific composer, but an impressive and growing body of work reflects a rare eye for detail and structure - each work beautifully crafted and reworked until every inflection, detail and nuance is perfect. Probably best described as a miniaturist, he writes in a fluent, independent and strongly personal style with an intense desire to create music which communicates to both performer and audience alike.

In 1999 John Alexander won the 1st BIBF Composition Contest and was invited to be a judge for several BIBF competitions. He was a featured composer at Bass-Fest 2001, was an spnm short-listed composer for three years, and was Composer-in-residence at the 2004 Rotterdam Conservatoire Double Bass Weekend, Bass-Fest 2006 and 2007 Wells Double Bass Weekend. His works have been performed and broadcast throughout the world and he was written an impressive and unique body of work for double bass.

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Cat No. RM105
Supplier Code RM105
Price £6.00
ComposerJohn Alexander
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
Difficulty level5 - 6
ISMN 979-0-57045-105-0
EAN-13 9790570451050
Weight 32 grams
Published 14th December 2009
Availability 10 in stock
See also...
RM759  Quartet for Double Basses (DOUBLE BASS QUARTET)
RM797  MBE Suite