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Concerto for double bass and wind orchestra

Title: Concert for doublebass and wind orchestra

Composer: Salvador Brotons

Instrumentation: Doublebass, Piano

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The idea of writing a concerto for double bass comes from afar. Several double bass players had suggested the idea to me, and I have always been particularly open to it because of the special challenge of writing concertos for instruments that have a scarce repertoire. Moreover, I have always believed that the double bass is an instrument with numerous expressive possibilities yet to be discovered. In the orchestra, we are accustomed to hearing a double bass deep in the lower register playing long notes and a few pizzicatti. My challenge has been to write a concerto where all the registers of the double bass stand out, emphasizing the lyrical qualities of its fourth string, the deepness of sound of the first string, the special effects, harmonics, pizzicatti, glissandi,etc…all at the service of a concerto in which the orchestra has an important role, either in dialogue with, or accompanying, the soloist.
I chose a wind orchestra in order to facilitate the projection of the soloist’s timbre, as the instrument has a dark sound which can be confused with a string accompaniment. The double bass player, Jonathan Camps, offered to show me the possibilities of the instrument. His sound, vibrato and modern technique fascinated me, and encouraged me to compose this concerto.
As in all concertos, my main concern has been to show as far as possible the expressive possibilities of the instrument. However, the orchestra has a very participative role, also taking great care of the balance with the soloist.
The first movement has a mirror form (Allegro-Andante-Allegro) with the two slow movements being the Introduction and the Coda respectively. In the central Allegro, there are irregular meters combining very lyric passages, by the soloist, with more rhythmic ones.
The second movement is a sweet Andante at 6/8 of Sicilian rhythm evoking a very tonal berceuse melody. The second theme, introduced by the English horn, has a more elaborated rhythm which, in its development, leads to the re-exposition of the initial theme with the whole orchestra mixing the two themes. After a process of distension, the movement ends with the initial melody, now with harmonics in the double bass fading into silence.
The last movement includes to main themes, the first of which is rhythmic, and the second very lyric. Both themes are presented by the double bass. A long orchestral tutti brings us to the extensive cadenza of the soloist. A combined re-exposition leads to a virtuoso Coda which ends the concerto brilliantly.
This concerto was composed between the months of April and October, 2008.