Petite Suite

Publisher: Recital Music
Product Code: RMD1425
Composed by: Peter Byrom-Smith
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Petite Suite is a collection of five colourful, inventive and engaging pieces aimed at
the intermediate bassist. Composed in 2023 to remember the Czech bassist-<br /> composer František Hertl (1906-1973), the fiftieth anniversary of his death, each
piece offers musical and technical challenges across the middle register of the
double bass with lively, independent and supportive accompaniments. Toccatina, as the title suggests, this is not a ‘full blown’ toccata by any means of the musical
imagination, but a shortened, and slightly less ‘showy off’ version. Toccatina, I suppose in
my mind, means an opportunity for the performers to almost warm up the fingers, whilst at
the same time also warming up and drawing the listener into the musical world around them,
with a hint of what is to come in the rest of this suite. As the title for the second movement of the suite implies, I have tried to capture a song like
piece, a love song in fact. Using melodic and harmonic ideas, but imagining that either of the
instruments, but especially of course, the double bass had vocal chords. A real
conversational dialogue between the two instruments ensues almost from the start to end,
and almost vocally in places, where we have gentle banter, to almost assertive declarations
of love, and as in real live, a little mixture of both. The third movement is ‘Variations’, in which I have taken a simple theme, then developed
three variations around it and a coda. It is probably more correct to say that the variation
ideas actually twist, and turn around the original theme, changing key, almost on a whim as
it were, but all for a musical purpose. Although set as a Theme with three variations, plus a
short Coda, the music is self-contained, and continuous in that it is in one complete
soundscape, without a break between movements, with the only break in sound coming for
musical expressive purposes only, which when they occur giving just a little breathing room,
so to speak, for both listener, and performer. Writing a slightly contemplative piece for the fourth movement of this suite, I hope it is a little
of all things you may expect from its title. Reflective, thoughtful, regretful, nostalgic with a
little bit of angst thrown into the musical mix, so to speak; thinking of loved ones, friends, in
fact people everywhere. Although personal feelings for me, everyone at some time, possibly
even more than once, has sensed this mood/atmosphere of which I have tried to capture just
a little of. The final movement is titled ‘Capriccietto’ and draws this work to a close and is capricious in
character too. Having used my own interpretation of the word, this piece is fairly lively in
character, but always with a bit of a ‘bounce’ and slightly humorous in mood – a true
definition of the title. As both performers exchange musical glances at one another, so to speak, and the rhythmic
themes swap between players, they also have the opportunity to show a little of their
virtuosity of musicianship, and technique, as they bring the foot tapping/bouncy movement
and the whole work to a rousing conclusion! [Programme notes by Peter Byrom-Smith]

1. Toccatina 1. 2.Song without Words (Píseñ beze slov) 2. Variations (Variace) 3. Elegy (Elegie) 4. Capriccietto