Double bass concerto

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A double bass concerto is a musical composition, usually in three parts or movements (see concerto), for solo double bass with an orchestra. Many of the first concerti for solo bass were written in the late classical period by Domenico Dragonetti and Johannes Matthias Sperger. Several concerti were also written by Johann Baptist Wanhal, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, and Joseph Haydn, although Haydn's has since been lost. Giovanni Bottesini made enormous contributions to the solo double bass repertoire, and among his many works are two virtuosic concerti for double bass and orchestra. In the 20th century, many composers created new works for the instrument, including Serge Koussevitsky, Eduard Tubin, Hans Werner Henze, and John Harbison.[1]

The double bass has not been a popular choice for a solo instrument, mainly due to the difficulties of balancing the soloist and orchestra so that the former is not overshadowed. The low register of the double bass makes it difficult to project; to help resolve this problem, many composers (most notably Bottesini) wrote solo parts in the high register of the instrument. Few major composers of the classical and romantic eras were disposed to writing double bass concerti, as there were few instrumentalists capable of taking on the demands of playing as a soloist; it was only through the efforts of virtuosi like Dragonetti, Bottesini, and Koussevitsky that the double bass began to be recognized as a solo instrument. As the twentieth century began, the standard of double bass technique improved by a significant degree, making it a more popular choice for composers.

Selected list of works for double bass and accompaniment[edit]


  1. ^ "IMSLP: Scores Featuring Double Bass". International Music Score Library Project. Retrieved 5 December 2013.