THE DOUBLE BASS - ENCORE!
Ernest Bloch, Giovanni Bottesini, Evan Chambers, John Clayton, Domenico Dragonetti, Serge Koussevitzky, Krysztof Penderecki, Sherwood Shaffer
ROBERT OPPELT, double bass
Irina Muresanu, violin
Eric DeWaardt, viola
Christopher Koelzer, piano
“Oppelt has an affinity for Domenic Dragonetti’s waltzes (6 of 15 selections) completing his waltz cycle from the first volume. Dragonetti’s music is enjoyable... The music is varied and usually melodic, the playing is excellent, and the program is interesting... Oppelt varies the program so that lulls are few.”
Fisch, American Record Guide [January/February 2020]
“[The Double Bass Encore! provides] Oppelt with the opportunity to record the remaining six Dragonetti waltzes, all twelve of which make for excellent encore selections for any performance featuring a bass player. In that “encore spirit” most of the selections are relatively short. They include two pieces by Serge Koussevitzky, best known as a conductor but whose instrument was the bass. However, the album concludes on a serious note with a duo concertante that Krzysztof Penderecki composed in 2010. While this piece is less than five minutes in duration, it is far from an “afterthought” where concert programming is concerned... I tend to agree with Oppelt that six Dragonetti waltzes are enough for a single album. As a result, I definitely appreciate the diversity of the compositions he provides as context for those waltzes.”
Stephen Smoliar, The Rehesral Studio [January 2020]
"Giovanni Bottesini’s romantic, song-like Elegy...shows off the bass player’s shimmering trill and velvet low notes... [In Dragonetti’s Qaltz No. 12] Oppelt again shows his ability to play fast with brilliant clarity... [In Koussevitzky's Chanson Triste] Oppelt plays a luscious legato... I think you will want to own this fine double bass recording."
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [November/December 2019]
"That Robert Oppelt greatly enjoys playing his double bass with friends is greatly evidentOppelt obviously has a personal relationship with his double bass as revealed to our ears in the way he works the instrument with his bow and hand,The result is very engaging and intoxicating experience, drawing a listener into the music piece after piece."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [November 2019]
[ * * * * ] "Oppelt’s considerable virtuosity and his well-balanced collaborations with Irina Muresanu, Eric DeWaardt, and Christopher Koelzer lead to a CD that is mostly on the lighter side but that shows just how effectively communicative the double bass can be in sufficiently expert hands."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2019]
"Kudos for Robert Oppelt and for his friends heard in outstanding performances"
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [September 2019]
PROGRAM NOTES"On my first CD, The Double Bass (MSR Classics, MS1221), I recorded works which are collaborations for bass and other instruments, along with the first six of the 12 Waltzes for Solo Double Bass by Domenico Dragonetti. With this new CD, I present the remaining six Dragonetti waltzes (Nos. 7-12), accomplishing my goal of issuing the first digital recording of the complete series. Rather than performing the waltzes consecutively, they appear between the featured works to “cleanse the palate”. The Shaffer and Chambers pieces are premiere recordings as well.
I play two double basses on this CD: a Testore (which I use in my orchestral work) on the pieces by Bloch, Chambers, Clayton, Dragonetti and Koussevitzky; and a Klotz with narrower shoulders, which makes it better suited for the Bottesini and Penderecki works. I employ traditional solo scordatura tuning for the pieces by Koussevitsky and Bloch.
I am donating 25% of the net proceeds of this CD to the Anti-Defamation League. As a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, I have performed for the last 24 years in the annual ADL Concert Against Hate at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Each time, I am awed by the stories of the brave individuals who are honored by the ADL for being “heroes in the fight against intolerance, extremism, and terrorism.”
And of course, this project would not have been possible without my fabulously talented friends who graciously collaborated with me: Eric deWaardt, Irina Muresanu, Chris Koelzer and Antonino D’Urzo. [Robert Oppelt, June 2019]
Robert Oppelt is Principal Bass with the National Symphony Orchestra, the resident orchestra of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Born in Richmond, Kentucky, he began playing the piano and violin at an early age. His parents, both professional musicians, encouraged him to try the double bass when he was 15. He discovered an immediate affinity with the instrument. Oppelt attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts briefly in high school and later completed his Bachelor of Music degree there in three years. In 1982, at age 21, he auditioned for the National Symphony Orchestra and was invited by the eminent cellist and Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich to join the double bass section. He was promoted to Assistant Principal Bass in 1984, then to Principal Bass in 1996 by Music Director Leonard Slatkin. Oppelt has appeared as soloist with the NSO in performances of Mozart’s Per Questa Bella Mano, Paganini’s Moses Fantasy and Koussevitsky’s Concerto for Double Bass. Chamber Music collaborations include performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Hillary Hahn and the Kennedy Center Chamber Players. In addition, Oppelt taught his craft for 16 years at the University of Maryland. He plays more than 140 concerts a year and has toured throughout the United States and in 32 foreign countries with the NSO. He has performed at the White House for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
PROGRAMGiovanni Bottesini (1821-1889)
ELEGY NO.1 in D major for double bass and piano
Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846)
WALTZ NO.7 in D major (Vivace)
Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951)
CHANSON TRISTE, Op.2 for double bass and piano
WALTZ NO.8 in G major (Vivace)
HUMORESQUE, Op.4 for double bass and piano
WALTZ NO.9 in F major (Vivace)
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
PRAYER NO.1 for double bass and piano (from Jewish Life)
WALTZ NO.10 in B-flat major (Allegretto)
Sherwood Shaffer (b.1934)
WALTZ NO.11 in D major (Vivace)
John Clayton (b.1952)
BACH TO BLUES
WALTZ NO.12 in F major (Presto)
Evan Chambers (b.1963)
FISHERSTREET DUO for viola and double bass
I. Lament for Jafran
II. The Barnacle and the Nautilus
Krysztof Penderecki (b.1933)
DUO CONCERTANTE for violin and double bass