Virtuoso repertoire, brilliantly presented: Dominik Wagner is releasing his Bottesini album “Revolution of Bass” with Berlin Classics. Due to appear at the end of October, the album features such works as the composer’s Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor for solo double bass and two Duos with Benjamin Schmid on violin and Jeremias Fliedl playing cello. The artists are accompanied by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn under Emmanuel Tjeknavorian – very much to the liking of Dominik Wagner, who played his first concert together with Tjeknavorian ten years ago and has been a close friend of his ever since.

The Romantic composer Giovanni Bottesini – whose bicentenary we celebrate this year – is considered the Paganini of the double bass, an innovator who shaped and revolutionized the double bass repertoire. Having learnt the violin and viola, Bottesini discovered that no scholarships were on offer for either instrument, so he began studying the double bass instead – and soon showed exceptional talent. For Dominik Wagner, Bottesini’s compositions were the reason he began playing the double bass. “If you are looking for exceptional concertos for double bass, that inevitably leads you to the works of Bottesini. There was nothing anywhere near this sort of double-bass technique before,” he says of the available repertoire, “it is just incredibly good music. Brilliantly orchestrated. The sections in this fantastic piece never drown each other out, it really is a model soloist’s concerto!”

It’s true that the works are played relatively seldom, but this will be due to their very high technical hurdles. The alternation between harmonics and low register takes place in an instant, sometimes the bass plays higher than the violins – and the music still has to sound light and airy. It’s a challenge. That said, Bottesini exploits to the full the instrument’s sonic potential, which comes over particularly well in partnership with the violin and the cello. Accordingly, Dominik Wagner looked for his perfect partners: “I played with Benjamin Schmid in November 2020, we recorded the Trout Quintett together. He has been one of my greatest role models ever since I was a boy. I took the opportunity to ask him if he’d play on the recording. Jeremias Fliedl is an absolutely outstanding cellist, on a musical and technical level that practically no-one else commands. For such a demanding and rarely played piece as the Bottesini Duo, he was the ideal choice.”

Dominik Wagner was concerned to show off Bottesini’s versatility. “Revolution of Bass” is not limited to works with orchestra; there are bonus titles on the album as well. “Une bouche aimée”, “Tutto che il mondo serra”, “Allegretto Capriccio” and “Rêverie” with soprano Ursula Langmayr and Can Çakmur at the piano shape the repertoire into a veritable Bottesini kaleidoscope: a round tour through the works of a composer who was regarded as one of the most important musical personalities of his day.

Bottesini is an unknown quantity to many music-lovers, to whom “Revolution of Bass” will come as a rewarding expansion of their horizons. Dominik Wagner comments: “People have this chance to hear new music that will appeal to them at once. If you don’t know what to expect, your enthusiasm will be all the greater in the end!”

Bottesini: Revolution of Bass Dominik Wagner & Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn & Emmanuel Tjeknavorian

Artist

Dominik Wagner
Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn
Emmanuel Tjeknavorian

Composer

Giovanni Bottesini

Further information

Genre

Klassik

Publication date:

29.10.2021



Virtuoso repertoire, brilliantly presented: Dominik Wagner is releasing his Bottesini album “Revolution of Bass” with Berlin Classics. Due to appear at the end of October, the album features such works as the composer’s Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor for solo double bass and two Duos with Benjamin Schmid on violin and Jeremias Fliedl playing cello. The artists are accompanied by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn under Emmanuel Tjeknavorian – very much to the liking of Dominik Wagner, who played his first concert together with Tjeknavorian ten years ago and has been a close friend of his ever since.

The Romantic composer Giovanni Bottesini – whose bicentenary we celebrate this year – is considered the Paganini of the double bass, an innovator who shaped and revolutionized the double bass repertoire. Having learnt the violin and viola, Bottesini discovered that no scholarships were on offer for either instrument, so he began studying the double bass instead – and soon showed exceptional talent. For Dominik Wagner, Bottesini’s compositions were the reason he began playing the double bass. “If you are looking for exceptional concertos for double bass, that inevitably leads you to the works of Bottesini. There was nothing anywhere near this sort of double-bass technique before,” he says of the available repertoire, “it is just incredibly good music. Brilliantly orchestrated. The sections in this fantastic piece never drown each other out, it really is a model soloist’s concerto!”

It’s true that the works are played relatively seldom, but this will be due to their very high technical hurdles. The alternation between harmonics and low register takes place in an instant, sometimes the bass plays higher than the violins – and the music still has to sound light and airy. It’s a challenge. That said, Bottesini exploits to the full the instrument’s sonic potential, which comes over particularly well in partnership with the violin and the cello. Accordingly, Dominik Wagner looked for his perfect partners: “I played with Benjamin Schmid in November 2020, we recorded the Trout Quintett together. He has been one of my greatest role models ever since I was a boy. I took the opportunity to ask him if he’d play on the recording. Jeremias Fliedl is an absolutely outstanding cellist, on a musical and technical level that practically no-one else commands. For such a demanding and rarely played piece as the Bottesini Duo, he was the ideal choice.”

Dominik Wagner was concerned to show off Bottesini’s versatility. “Revolution of Bass” is not limited to works with orchestra; there are bonus titles on the album as well. “Une bouche aimée”, “Tutto che il mondo serra”, “Allegretto Capriccio” and “Rêverie” with soprano Ursula Langmayr and Can Çakmur at the piano shape the repertoire into a veritable Bottesini kaleidoscope: a round tour through the works of a composer who was regarded as one of the most important musical personalities of his day.

Bottesini is an unknown quantity to many music-lovers, to whom “Revolution of Bass” will come as a rewarding expansion of their horizons. Dominik Wagner comments: “People have this chance to hear new music that will appeal to them at once. If you don’t know what to expect, your enthusiasm will be all the greater in the end!”

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