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Bottesini ; Music for Double Bass and Piano CD
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Born in Crema, northern Italy, in 1821, Bottesini was not only a leading double bass player and conductor, but also a successful composer whose prolific output included at least ten operas as well as numerous sacred and orchestral works. His popularity today, however, is largely due to the extensive range of pieces he wrote both concerti and solo for the double bass. Fundamental to the instruments repertoire, these works have been widely published and even feature in the syllabuses of examining boards and conservatoires around the world.
Dubbed the Paganini of the double bass, Bottesini effectively exploited the technical possibilities of the instrument, thus furthering its history. His ability to understand its idiosyncrasies resulted in idiomatic writing that, combined with his passion for opera, is extremely lyrical as evident in this recording, which perfectly encapsulates the variety and style found within his works for double bass and piano. The disc features, among others, popular arias by Bellini and Paisiello which contain wide-ranging cadenza-like passages that demand mastery of the fingerboard and phenomenal bow control: here we encounter Bottesini the showman, and are exposed to the bel canto style that was such an intrinsic part of opera at that time.
Performed by the talented Stefano Sciascia and David Giovanni Leonardi, this is a feast of virtuosic display not to be missed, and reveals how the double bass an instrument not generally associated with solo repertoire is capable of holding its own, and to great effect.