Hawai'i Variations

Cover photograph
See larger image
Price £8.50

The Hawai'i Variations are based on a melody attributed to a Hawaiian princess, Laura Konia, step-mother of the last Queen of Hawai'i. It is dated around 1897 in the Queen's song book. This composition for double bass and piano begins with a statement of this theme followed by six variations and a coda. The piece is intended to reflect some of the implications of original song text which in the Hawaiian language is titled "Nani Haili Po I Ka Lehua". This can be translated in English as "Haili is beautiful, dense with the fragrant Lehua blossoms". The term "Haili" refers to a forest on the Big Island of Hawaii noted for its many birds and "Lehua", a very attractive Hawaiian flower.

Hawai'i Variations was premiered on 16 September 2012 at Wells Cathedral School (Somerset, UK) by David Heyes (double bass) and Christopher Finch (piano), as part of Armand Russell's 80th birthday celebrations at the school.

This edition includes one piano accompaniment and two solo parts - one for orchestral tuning and one for solo tuning.


Armand Russell was born in Seattle, Washington in 1932. He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Washington, with a major in music composition, and a Doctorate in music composition from the Eastman School of Music. He studied double bass with Leslie Martin, who played in the Seattle Symphony and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and at the Eastman School of Music with Oscar Zimmerman. His composition studies were with John Verrall and George McKay at the University of Washington, and with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson at the Eastman School.

Professionally, Armand Russell played double bass in many orchestras including the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Tour Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic and Civic Orchestras, and Honolulu Symphony. For five years he taught as a visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music. From 1961 to 1994 he taught at the University of Hawaii Music Department and retired as Professor emeritus in 1994. While at the University of Hawaii he taught music theory, composition and double bass and also served as Chair of the Music Department for seven years.

Armand Russell has composed many works for double bass and also percussion, including solos, chamber music and concertos. Some of his most frequently performed works include Chaconne (Db/Pno), Buffo Set (Db/Pno), Harlequin Concerto (Db/Orch), Pas de Deux (Cl/Perc), Percussion Suite, Theme & Fantasia (Concert Band) and Suite Concertante (Tuba/Wind Quintet). He has also composed several works for choirs in recent years and has continued to write for the double bass alongside a growing body of chamber music and transcriptions.

Armand Russell's compositional style is confident and direct with a clarity of line and texture always to the fore. A modern, yet lyrical and accessible style, has created works which communicate equally to performers and audiences alike and he has made, and continues to make, a unique and valuable contribution to the double bass litereature throughout a long and successful career.

Samples available

Adobe PDF File

Get Adobe Reader

Cat No. RM545
Supplier Code RM545
Price £8.50
ComposerArmand Russell
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
Difficulty level8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-545-4
EAN-13 9790570455454
Weight 101 grams
Published 7th July 2014
Availability 9 in stock
See also...
RM436  Lyric Sonata
RM458  Divergent Dances
RM502  Prelude & Canzonetta
RM504  Elegy
RM538  Three Miniatures
RM540  Excursions (DOUBLE BASS QUARTET)
RM582  The Bass Affair (DOUBLE BASS QUARTET)
RM691  English Air
RM758  Companions (TWO DOUBLE BASSES & PIANO)
RM761  Tarantella Mia