Wiegenlied (Lullaby)

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Price £6.50

Wiegenlied (Lullaby) is a short and lyrical work for double bass and piano. This new edition, by David Heyes includes accompaniments for both solo and orchestral tunings. Almost exclusively in treble clef and in the solo register of the double bass, it demonstrates the sonorous and cantabile qualities of the instrument.

Gustav Laska is part of a long line of Czech player-composers who studied at the Prague Conservatoire and exported the Czech tradition and heritage to almost every corner of the globe. He was born in Prague on 23 August 1847 and died in Schwerin (Germany) on 16 October 1928, aged 81 and after a long and successful career. He studied at the Prague Conservatoire from 1861-7 with Josef Hrabe (double bass), Jan B. Kittl (music theory) and Josef Krejci (composition) and after graduation gave solo performances in Austria and subsequently became a member of the orchestra in Kassel, Germany. He travelled extensively in Europe and America, both as a soloist and orchestral player, and was Principal Double Bass at the Bayreuth Festival for many years.

Throughout his life Laska also taught, conducted and composed, alongside his solo and orchestral performances, and Franz Tischer-Zeitz who edited the Dittersdorf Concerto in the 1930s, was one of his students. In 1904 his Method for Double Bass Op.50 was published in Leipzig but is practically forgotten today - the fate of many similar double bass tutors. From 1878 until his death in 1928 he was a member of the Court Opera Orchestra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and was also choirmaster of the Schwerin Singakademie and church choir.

Laska was a prolific composer, writing in many genres, including three operas (Der Kaisersoldat, Sunde and Abu Seid), two orchestral overtures, two symphonies, sacred choral works, piano music, and many works for double bass. The first recording of a work by Laska was probably his Wiegenlied Op.28, No.5 (Lullaby) by Serge Koussevitsky (double bass) and Pierre Luboshutz on 26 September 1929. Koussevitsky must have thought well enough of the piece to record it alongside some of his own miniatures and transcriptions of music by Eccles and Beethoven and it was probably a work he had performed during his years as a virtuoso double bassist.

The double bass music of Gustav Laska is well written for the instrument, featuring many technical challenges alongside lyrical and cantabile melodies, but much of it has fallen from the repertoire since his death almost 90 years ago. The smaller works are probably best described as salon or characteristic music, but of a high quality, and many are still worthy of performance today. His music often fuses the technical skills of the Czech School with the lyricism and virtuosity of Bottesini, although still with one foot very firmly in the Czech camp. The salon style is a little out of step with today's music making and sensibilities but fashions do change and there is a wealth of great music awaiting rediscovery by the curious and adventurous bassists.

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Cat No. RM928
Supplier Code RM928
Price £6.50
ComposerGustav Laska
EditorDavid Heyes
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
Difficulty level8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-928-5
EAN-13 9790570459285
Weight 90 grams
Published 19th September 2016
Availability 8 in stock