To Pošta, To Prague

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The Frantisek Posta Heritage Series series

Frantisek Posta (1919-1991) was Principal Double Bass of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 40 years and was the leading Czech bassist of his generation. He was much admired and revered around the world and commissioned and transcribed many works for double bass.

Michael Montgomery writes: "I met František Pošta in the early 1980s when I was newly married and still working on my doctorate at the University of Miami under the tutelage of Dr. Lucas Drew. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, on tour, had come to town to present a concert at the Dade County Auditorium in the “Little Havana” neighborhood of Miami and Lucas had arranged for the principal bassist of the orchestra to come to his house and give a master class for some of the bass students of his studio. At the time, I was largely unaware of the significance of the position this wonderful bassist held and the great double bass heritage that preceded him in that position.

František Pošta (1919-1991) had studied at the Prague Conservatory from 1934 to 1942, where he was a pupil of Oldřich Sorejs (1891-1953). Sorejs in turn had been a student of František Černý, an important figure in the history of the Prague School of Double Bass. František himself began teaching at the Prague Conservatoire beginning in 1953. He had joined the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1939 and was its principal bassist from 1945 to 1985.

We bassists often say that the Prague School of Double Bass was founded by Wenzel Hause (1763-1847) – when the Prague Conservatoire was founded in 1811, Hause was its first Double Bass Professor, and he taught there until 1845. Among the many innovations and concepts consolidated in his 1828 Méthode complète de contra-basse approuvée et adoptée par la direction du Conservatoire de Prague are several we take for granted in our own time: that the double bass should have four strings instead of three, and that they should be tuned in fourths instead of fifths, that when playing in orchestra we should be able to sound a very low “E” on our instrument, etc. After Hause left the conservatory, his student Josef Hrabé (1816-1870) took over the position. There in Prague Hrabe taught František Černý who in turn would mentor Oldřich Sorejs, the teacher of František Pošta. So, unbeknownst to me at the time, Mr. Pošta sat in direct descendancy to the founder of the Prague School of Bass Playing, Wenzel Hause.

From 1855-1861 the famous František Simandl (1840-1912) was also a student of Hrabě in Prague. Simandl went on to teach at the Vienna Conservatoire (1869-1910) where he wrote many works for his own bass students, as was the norm for most of the Prague School bassists. Perhaps the best known of his works is the 1874 instruction manual entitled simply New Method of the Double Bass. It consolidated the fingering system most bassists still use to this day.

The innovations and study materials of the Prague bassists did not simply stay in Prague; they were, in fact, shared worldwide. For instance, while in Vienna Hungarian bassist Ludwig Manoly studied with Simandl, He later moved to America and in 1892 became the New York Philharmonic’s principal bassist. Manoly’s pupil Herman Reinshagen was the teacher of one Fred Zimmerman (1906-1967). Mr. Zimmerman, assistant principal bass of the New York Philharmonic from 1930-1966, commissioned, transcribed, and edited a prodigious amount of music for his students. He was even the editor of the 1964 Carl Fischer edition of Mr. Simandl’s "New Method". He began teaching at Juilliard in 1935 where he mentored of my own first teacher, Robert Rohe. Fred’s widow bequeathed Lucas Drew (my second bass teacher) a considerable amount of work which had been left unpublished at the time of his death in 1967. Lucas was able to bring much of the valuable repertory to print. We bassists today have so very much to be grateful for as we consider the legacy passed down to all bassists through the Prague School of Playing. In appreciation of František Pošta's place in that tradition, Lourdes and I humbly offer these several little pieces written for my own young students – it is our hope the legacy will continue to flourish for years to come."

Double bassist Michael Montgomery, a student of Robert Rohe and Lucas Drew, has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, played in the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, and now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where he teaches at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the Suzuki Music School of Arkansas. His articles have been published in American Suzuki Journal, Bass World, and Pastoral Music.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Lourdes C. Montgomery moved to the United States at age five. She studied jazz piano at Miami-Dade Community College with Sanford Gold and, at the University of Miami, music composition with Dr. Dennis Kam as well as classical piano with Dr. Rosalina Sackstein. Many of Lourdes' sacred and liturgical compositions are published by Oregon Catholic Press, who also produced her CD entitled "De La Cruz a la Gloria", and World Library Publications.

In 2008, Lourdes was honored to have her song Bienaventurados ("The Beatitudes") was performed at the mass of Pope Benedict XVI that was held at the National Stadium in Washington, D.C., and televised nationally. In 2005 Lourdes became music director at St. Vincent de Paul Church in the Ozark Mountains of NW Arkansas, where she now lives with her double bassist husband Michael Montgomery.

Contents

  • 1. Guardians of the Legacy
  • 2.Mentors
  • 3. Etude No.5 (Für Pošta)
  • 4. The Sage
  • 5. Today's Youth - Tomorrow's Gatekeepers
Cat No. RM1110
Supplier Code RM1110
Price £8.50
ComposersLourdes C. Montgomery
Michael Montgomery
CategoryDouble Bass Solo
SeriesFrantisek Posta Heritage Series
Difficulty level6 - 8
Weight 109 grams
Published 30th September 2020
Availability 9 in stock
See also...
RM1116  Trois Pièces Élégiaques (DOUBLE BASS & PIANO)
RM1125  New Orleans Nights