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Two Pieces

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"...a thoughtful, well conceived and exciting work. It would fit well on any recital programme."

Armand Russell has written a wealth of music for the double bass and these two pieces for unaccompanied double bass offer a range of effective and accessible challenges for the advanced player. His compositional style is always direct and accessible, with a clarity of line and texture always to the fore, and his modern but lyrical approach has been popular with performers and audiences alike.

Recital Music publish a number of double bass works by Armand Russell who is a Featured Composer in 2010.

DIALOGUE - a great variety of treatments appear in this piece starting from two 3-note ideas that appear throughout. With the use of shifts in strong and expressive extremes, the effect of an adversarial dialogue emerges.

SOLO CONCERTATO - the illusion of two strong and contended forces is intended here. A 'ripieno' or 'tutti' effect is associated with the initial theme, a section and effect that will return periodically. This is followed by soloistic sections with contrasting treatment and a variety of musical ideas but with a strong and rhythmic pulse and drive throughout.

"The first of the Two Pieces is titled Dialogue. Two types of highly contrasting material are used: slow, steady, sustained, melodic gestures and florid, more virtuosic, cadenza-like music to be played with metrical freedom. The movement alternates between these two ideas, and in the words of the composer, "a strong adversarial dialogue emerges."
The second piece, Solo Concertato, is the longer of the two. Like the first movement, it also contrasts two different musical ideas. But here the material is rhythmic, fast and driving. The opening idea is syncopated while the contrasting music is even. The performance instructions are "electric and very, very marked" - good advice for anyone attempting to play this piece.

Armand Russell has composed a medium-difficult piece that uses standard notation and does not venture into the realms of extended techniques. It is a thoughtful, well conceived, and exciting work, It would fit well on any recital programme." [Bass World / ISB]

Armand Russell was born in Seattle, Washington in 1932. He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Washington, with a major in music composition, and a Doctorate in music composition from the Eastman School of Music. He studied double bass with Leslie Martin, who played in the Seattle Symphony and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and at the Eastman School of Music with Oscar Zimmerman. His composition studies were with John Verrall and George McKay at the University of Washington, and with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson at the Eastman School.

Professionally, Armand Russell played double bass in many orchestras including the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Tour Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic and Civic Orchestras, and Honolulu Symphony. For five years he taught as a visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music. From 1961 to 1994 he taught at the University of Hawaii Music Department and retired as Professor emeritus in 1994. While at the University of Hawaii he taught music theory, composition and double bass and also served as Chair of the Music Department for seven years.

Armand Russell has composed many works for double bass and also percussion, including solos, chamber music and concertos. Some of his most frequently performed works include Chaconne (Db/Pno), Buffo Set (Db/Pno), Harlequin Concerto (Db/Orch), Pas de Deux (Cl/Perc), Percussion Suite, Theme & Fantasia (Concert Band) and Suite Concertante (Tuba/Wind Quintet). He has also composed several works for choirs in recent years and has continued to write for the double bass alongside a growing body of chamber music and transcriptions.

Armand Russell's compositional style is confident and direct with a clarity of line and texture always to the fore. A modern, yet lyrical and accessible style, has created works which communicate equally to performers and audiences alike and he has made, and continues to make, a unique and valuable contribution to the double bass litereature throughout a long and successful career.

Recital Music is planning a celebration of Armand Russell's music at Bass-Fest in 2012 to celebrate the composers 80th birthday.


  • Dialogue
  • Solo Concertato

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Cat No. RM286
Supplier Code RM286
Price £8.50
ComposerArmand Russell
CategoryDouble Bass Solo
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty levelAdvanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-286-6
EAN-13 9790570452866
Weight 85 grams
Published 1st April 2010
Availability 5 in stock
See also...
RM244  Passacaglia
RM355  12 Capriccios