A Turetzky Tribute Book 1

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American bassist-composer Bertram Turetzky celebrated his 85th birthday on 14 February 2018. He is a pioneer of contemporary repertoire for double bass, commissioning more than 300 works for the instrument, and is a true legend in the double bass community.

A TURETZKY TRIBUTE is an international project bringing together composers from around the world to write a piece to celebrate the birthday of this iconic figure in the bass world. All the works will be published by Recital Music alongside national and international premieres.

MARY RAE (USA) - Lost in Thought
Mary Rae writes: "Lost in Thought was composed to honour of Bertram Turetzky, on his eighty-fifth birthday and is a short piece, not quite one minute and a half, for unaccompanied double bass. After listening to recordings of Bert Turetzky playing so beautifully, I found myself feeling somewhat sombre, and, as the title says, lost in thought. This piece is how I found my way back."

ERIC FUNK (USA) - Retrospective Glance
Eric Funk writes: "As time passes, as we age, we sometimes stop intentionally to recall, to look back over our life, to take a retrospective glance of our lifetime. Prominent memories arise along with feelings, sometimes with over-arching “flavours” of time and place, sounds-smells-feeling tones. I believe this nostalgia also carries with it a certain hope that the fabric of our time on earth is laced with certain positive impacts on others. As musicians, many of these remembrances carry recollections of when we touched the hearts and imaginations of those listening to the music we’ve created, commissioned, and performed. It’s a very private thing, this retrospective glance. Sometimes it underpins our view of our life as having had a certain value, hopefully carrying our character and integrity, and, ideally, affording a sense of a life well-lived. Life is so beautiful, when reviewed from older age."

GRAHAM BOAG (Oman/UK) - Bluesin' It Up For Bert
Graham Boag writes: "I wanted to reflect Bert’s [Bertram Turetzky] life long affiliation with Jazz, this is the result. It’s a written out Jazz Solo built on a simple twelve bar Blues with a short introduction and ending. The first two sections (A & B) introduce the main theme and its development, then we have ‘improvised' sections (C & D) followed with the recapitulation of the main theme again with some rhythmic alteration, before ending with a short ‘outro'. I hope that ‘Bluesin’ it up for Bert’ will be an enjoyable play and hopefully, it will encourage players who have not dabbled in Jazz to follow up after playing this piece."

BERNARD SALLES (France) - A Little Gift for Bert Turetzky
"A Little Gift for Bert Turetzky' is a short piece written in two movements, the first running dircetly into the second. It begins with a slow first movement, with the meoldy developing from the instrument's medium range towards the higher notes, before calmly returning to the first tessiture. The second movement, an allegro, repeats the themes of the first movement, changing the rhythms and accents."

MICHAEL MONTGOMERY (USA) - The Shape of Clouds
Michael Montgomery writes: "I’ve been aware of the work and efforts the famous Bertram Turetzky on be behalf of our noble instrument, and we who play it, since forever - what a treat it is to be asked to join in the effort to produce a tribute to this icon! There are so many stories of Mr. Turetzky’s constant lobbying of composers, begging them to consider writing for double bass. He considered extensively the instrument’s tonal palette and how it might be expanded, and his undertaking resulted in an impressive accumulation of new compositions for our instrument in the contemporary idiom. I thought it appropriate to make use of a number of these sonorities in a depiction of the endless forms clouds might take – lovely, sombre, threatening - changing from season to season, day to day, and even (as I’ve discovered up here in the mountains) minute to minute –forms that lend themselves quite naturally the expanded tonal palette I associate so much with the great Bertram Turetzky."
PREMIERE: 22 April 2018 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas, USA) by William Cross (double bass)

JAMES MARSHALL (USA) - Big Bow, Remembering Bach & Bert
James Marshall writes: "Big Bow, Remembering Bach and Bert was composed in March, 2018 for the 85th birthday of Bertram Turetzky and the Celebration Concert hosted by David Heyes in November, 2018 at the Wells Cathedral School in England. First sketched two years earlier in March, 2016 it pays tribute to the pioneer of modern bass music and dear friend, mentor, and teacher I have known for forty years. One never knows the limits of one’s mortality, and it is my belief tributes should be made lavishly. Nancy and Bert Turetzky helped me to discover both music and life in the contemporary world. From 'Intonement' 1976 to the 'Sky of Light' duo in the 80s, 'Sky of Stars' Chamber Concerto for Contrabass and Nine Instruments 1996, and 'Pacific Moments' duo 2015 Bert performed my music in La Jolla and around the world in Paris, NYC, Mexico City, Australia, Germany, England, on and on.
This brief piece is a tribute to his unique musicality that has nurtured many composers to find new creative horizons. Before Bert, bass players aspired to play Bach cello suites to exemplify their mastery of the bass. As time has gone by, the new generation has begun again to play Bach and display their marvelous mastery of Bach on Youtube. Through the source, the master, Bert, I learned the timbral potentials of this marvelously resonant instrument. It has never been possible to utilize all the techniques in a single piece but to mould them into a unique musical “Turetzky” piece. I love Bach and often play the Cello Suites on my Clarinet. Thus I combine the inspirations of Bach and Bert in this remembrance. The title, Big Bow, refers to the larger, ponderous bow and strings of the instrument. One might say, I learned the hard way that the bass moves majestically, yet slower than the upper strings – its unique world to create- old and Turetzky New. The timbral nuances utilized in this piece are given further explanation below: Col legno tratto: fast tremolo with hair and wood of the bow to create a pitched, glassy sound turn the bow 90 degrees to realise notated pitches."

JOHN ALEXANDER (UK) - that sagacious del mar cat
John Alexander writes: "Over a number of years I’ve been fortunate to have had a most enjoyable and lively correspondence with the great Bertram Turetzky. His letters have been colourful – always handwritten, each with different hues of pen –, colloquial and wide ranging in terms of subject matter that might include history, politics, gardening, mystery novels, cats, family, Chomsky, films, health, musicians, plumbing, concerts, teaching, California fires, performing, humour, composing, sport, faculty meetings, swimming, the state of the world, poetry, “the noble but misunderstood contrabass”, travel, climate change; but mostly he discusses music.
My initial letter to Bert was about contemporary techniques on the bass. But I soon discovered that his enthusiastic interest in music went way beyond the modern stuff, his letters spanning Early Music to Morton Feldman or Duke Ellington, Mahler to Mingus or Monk. Within a short time of getting to know him, I wrote a flute/bass duo – ‘rain spirit passing’, Recital Music RM192 – for Bert and his wife Nancy, which they recorded (on Imaginary Chicago Records 009, 2011) and which they generously toured widely in the USA and Europe. In one of his letters to me, Bert writes: “The blues are very dear to me. They bring back memories of my teenage years when I was ‘jazz-mad’ and had the pleasure of ‘sitting in’ with some of the black stars”. Although my piece is not a blues, it might contain certain elements and maybe a feeling of that form. Most of all, what I hope ‘that sagacious del mar cat’ captures is (a) that quality of laid back freedom, as shown in his letters, and (b) a picture of an adventurous younger Bertram Turetzky voraciously probing the ‘new’ in music, with an acknowledgement that such exploration has continued and surely sustained him through a gloriously ‘giving’ life.
This piece for unaccompanied contrabass is affectionately dedicated to Bert in celebration of his 85th birthday and I wish him many more years of making music in one form or another."

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Cat No. RM990
Supplier Code RM990
Price £12.50
ComposersJohn Alexander
Graham Boag
Eric Funk
James Marshall
Michael Montgomery
Mary Rae
Bernard Salles
CategoryDouble Bass Solo
Difficulty level7 - 8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-990-2
EAN-13 9790570459902
Weight 132 grams
Published 3rd July 2018
Availability 7 in stock
See also...
RM998  SYRINX Book 3
RM1029  A Turetzky Tribute Book 2