A miniature suite of six short movements in a lyrical but modern idiom. This would be ideal for the intermediate bassist and could be successful as both study or concert repertoire. The solo part includes a number of musical and technical challenges with a strongly independent and impressive piano accompaniment, offering something a little different for the adventurous bassist.
"Emeritus professor of composition in Hawaii, Armand Russell gives us six very brief but contrasting movements which really explore ideas contained in the opening movement of his latest bass work. There's plenty of rhythmic variety in the playing, although I felt that practsing the solo part was curiously unrewarding without the consonant yet non-directional tonality of the accompaniment. After the quirky rhythmic opener there are two slow pieces separated by a pizzicato movement. Next a capriccioso with harmonics, and the set concludes with a lively vivace. Pebbles is written largely within the orchestral range, and is an interesting set of miniatures." (ESTA - News & Views).
The edition is published with piano accompaniments for both solo and orchestral tunings.
Performance Level: 8+
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.
Recital Music is planning a celebration of Armand Russell's music at Bass-Fest in 2012 to celebrate the composers 80th birthday.