Bernard Salles writes: 'Organum 1' was originally for double bass and organ and was written for Marc Antonio Quiñones, double bassist with the Orchestra of Mexico. It’s a small piece that uses a very old musical form, the 'organum'; a melody (almost plainchant) which develops over one or several held notes. It also exists in versions for double bass trio and double bass quartet.
Here, over held D octaves, we find the 5th (A), then the 7th (C) followed by the minor 6th (B flat) played as an accopaniment. Over this ostinato unfolds a long melody divided between the players, whose ambitus grows as the piece develops, eventually forming a complete circle to end where it began. Variations on the initial theme of this piece will be written at a later date.
Organum 1 for double bass quartet was premiered on Sunday 21 July 2019 at Church Crookham Memorial Hall (Fleet, Hampshire) by Recital Bass Ensemble directed by David Heyes.
Bernard Salles was born in 1954 and began his musical education in his home town of Perpignan (France) where he studied double bass, organ, composition and orchestral conducting at the Conservatoire. In 1973 he want to the Conservatoire of Versailles and in 1976, at the age of 22, he was awarded a double bass teaching diploma. Since then he has taught at the Conservatoire of Pau (South-west France) and played with many major French orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris and the National Orchestra of France, under the direction of conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Metha and Lorin Maazel.
In 1983 he began a parallel career as a conductor and was Music Director of the Orchestra of Pau from 1996-2001. He has directed the Orchestra of Pamplona (Spain) and is currently Music Director of the OSSO (Orchestre Symphonique du Sud-Ouest).
As a composer and member of SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Editors of Music), he has written over 30 works including two symphonies, a cantata, a psalm for bass and orchestra, a concerto for double bass and small orchestra, Rhapsody for viola and orchestra, Triptych for orchestra, Prelude for cello and orchestra, a symphonic poem for soprano, cello and orchestra, as well as works for chamber groups, and for choir and organ. His pedagogic works are published by G.Billaudot in Paris and his works for double bass are published by Recital Music (England).
In 2010 he began a series of short pieces for unaccompanied double bass - Portraits for Friends - dedicated to his double bass playing friends.