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Three Pieces for Double Bass and Piano

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The Heritage Series series

The history of the double bass features many player-composers who created a wealth of music for bassists of all abilities. Recital Music publish a wide and eclectic range of music by these important figures from the history of the instrument, particularly from the 19th and early 20th-centuries, and more works are in preparation. Some names are well known today, others almost forgotten, but each made a valuable contribution to the repertoire of the double bass and helped create a unqiue repertoire which deserves to be performed.

Three Pieces by Rudolf Tuláček is now available as a PDF download. The ABRSM have confirmed that they are happy to accept pdf downloads for examination purposes.


Three characterful, lyrical and enjoyable solos written in the salon style of the late 19th-century and allowing the solo double bass to sing throughout the range of the instrument. Tulacek studied composition with Dvorak and his music echoes the Czech nationalist style, always melodic, tuneful and graceful. Newly typeset in 2009 this edition also includes piano accompaniments for both solo and orchestral tunings.

"This music displays the old-fashioned sentimental romanticism typical of the salon music of the early 20th-century. All three deliciously lyrical pieces are in simple ABA song form." (ISB)

Grade 8 - Trinity-Guildhall / ABRSM

Performance Level: 8

Rudolf Tulacek was one of the leading Czech double bassists of his generation and was a respected and influential teacher at the Janacek Academy of Music in Brno. He was born in Jicin, Bohemia on 25 August 1885 and began to study the double bass at the age of eleven, having already studied flute and violin. So rapid was his progress that he soon became a member of the Jicin Municipal Orchestra and in 1901 entered the Prague Academy of Music to study with Frantisek Cerny, one of the Czech capital's leading bassists and teachers.

Tulacek graduated in 1907 with the highest commendations from his professors, performing the Geissel Concerto at his public graduation concert, and in 1909 was offered the post of Solo Bassist in the Zagreb Opera Orchestra. From 1920 he was also a Professor at the Zagreb State Academy of Music, and subsequently became Concert-Master of the Zagreb Philharmonic.

His many recitals attest to his perfect technique, supreme musicality and complete command of the instrument, and concerts included music by Cerny, Dvorak, Geissel, Kukla, Láska, Misek, Simandl, Stein and Tenaglia, alongside his own compositions.

In 1937 Tulacek became Professor of Double Bass at the Brno Academy of Music and in 1948 became the first Double Bass Professor at the newly founded Janacek Academy of Music in that city, where he taught until his death on 17 September 1954. After Tulacek's death the former Principal of the Brno Academy wrote: "I liked him very much because he was not only an excellent and exemplary professor - very meticulous and conscientious, but also an immensely good person, mild and quiet, who never harmed anybody and was loved by all who met him."

Rudolf Tulacek studied composition at the Prague Academy of Music and later with Antonin Dvorak, and his music displays the lyricism and melodic qualities typical of the salon music of the day, alongside compositions of great virtuosity and energy.

"Although I had studied in Prague with Frantisek Posta in the late 1980s and had amassed a wealth of Czech double bass music and knowledge, the name of Rudolf Tuláček was completely unknown to me until 1994, fifty years after his death. His works for double bass had never been published and the lack of a paper-trail probably resulted in his name not being being better known in the wider double bass community. The more I researched his life and music, the more I realised what an amazing person he must have been. After Rudolf Tuláček's death in 1954 Jan Kenc, a composer and former President of the Brno Academy of Music, wrote to his widow: "I liked him very much, because he was not only an excellent and exemplary professor, very meticulous and conscientious, but also an immensely good person, mild and quiet, who never harmed anybody and who was loved by everybody who met him." Rudolf Tuláček was born on 25 July 1885 in Jičín, Bohemia, described in travel guides as "the fairytale city of Jičín, with its defining red roof on the city gate, is one of the most picturesque cities in the Czech Republic". He showed outstanding musical talent from an early age and studied violin from the age of six, flute at ten and the following year began his double bass studies. Jičín had a lively and thriving musical life, not only operatic, theatrical and operetta companies performed there, but also some of the leading musicians of the day such as František Ondříček (1857-1922), Jan Kubelík (1880-1940) and Jaroslav Kocián (1883-1950). At the age of twelve Rudolf became a double bassist of the Jičín Municipal Orchestra and in 1901 travelled to Prague to study double bass at the Conservatoire with František Černý (1861-1940). He also studied piano alongside theory, harmony and counterpoint but his studies were interrupted when he father became ill and he has to teach to earn a living. His professor came to the rescue and Rudolf was engaged to teacher musical education to Černý's children. He subsequently graduated in 1907, playing Geissel's Concerto in his public recital, and his graduation diploma stated that his musical talent was "excellent" and his mastery of the double bass was "superior". For two years he worked in the Municipal Orchestra in Královské Vinohrady, a district of Prague, and in 1909 left for Zagreb (Croatia) where he was appointed solo double bass in the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, also teaching in the city. He soon became well-known amongst music lovers in Zagreb and gave many solo performances, often accompanied on the piano by his wife, performing music by Černý, Dvořák, Geissel, Kukla, Láska, Mišek, Simandl, Tenaglia alongside his own compositions. In 1937 Rudolf Tuláček and his family moved to Brno where he was appointed Professor of Double Bass at the Academy of Music, also teaching piano there for some time. In Brno Tuláček was able to develop and further his teaching skills and taught many excellent bassists who went on to play in leading Czech and Slovak orchestras, including the Czech Philharmonic and also the Czech Nonet and many theatre and radio orchestras. In 1948, thanks to his outstanding teaching abilities, he was appointed Professor of Double Bass at the newly established Janáček Academy of Music, where he successfully directed the double bass department until his death on 17 September 1954. His teaching programme was based on František Černý's Method alongside studies by Simandl, Kreutzer, Gregora and Josef Hrabě and his own technical exercises and studies in double-stops. Rudolf Tuláček composed a number of works for double bass, dating from 1903 to 1953, most written during the 1940s in Brno, and all demonstrate a lyrical and cantabile approach, typical of the salon and characteristic music of the early years of the 20th-century, but his Sherzo and Concerto in C# minor also display a technical bravura and flair, requiring an advanced technical command of the entire instrument. His music was described by Professor Krtička, on the first anniversary of his death: "Tuláček's double bass compositions are unique in their professional quality and they show a lyrical warmth in their rendition. The noble profile of an artistically uncompromising artist who lives at the same time in harmony with his heart and has almost no equal anywhere, permeates his compositions; he is kind to anybody who is good and seeks instruction or information, but he is uncompromising wherever purity of rendition was endangered by shortcomings caused by negligence." Dr. Balátová writes that her father "devoted all his life to the double bass - his only private hobbies were photography and travelling - he liked old castles, chateaux and historic buildings. Though he suffered from arterioscleriosis and anemia during the last years of his life, he didn't have any rest. He played the double bass until his last breath..." Tuláček's Three Pieces (3 skladby) for double bass and piano were composed in Zagreb between 1919 and 1926 and were brought together by the composer as a set, but there is no indication when he did this. Ukolébavka (Lullaby-Berceuse) was composed in 1919, is in ternary form and is lyrical and effective displaying the sonorous and cantabile qualities of the double bass. A gently rocking piano accompaniment underpins the slow moving solo melody and a more dramatic middle section is framed by music of simple beauty and style. Miniaturní Valčík (Valse Miniature) was composed in 1926 and is the most adventurous of the three. The music is elegant and accessible, also dramatic and adventurous, requring a bassist who is secure and confident in the higher register. The accompaniment is simple and supportive, sliding through a range of keys, but ending with the opening music which brings the music to a successful conclusion. Píseň Lásky (Chant d'Amour) was composed in 1920 and is the most romantic and salon-like of the three pieces. The melody is gloriously lyrical and sentimental, contrasting a more animated middle section, again emphasising the cantabile qualities of the double bass, but allied to an excellent technical command of the instrument. The accompaniment is bigger, exploring more colours and timbres than the other pieces, and could easily have been written during the last years of the 19th-century. All three pieces are bass-friendly, effective and playable, offering much to performers and audiences alike. The musical style is a little out of date today but the quality of the music still shines through and there is nothing wrong with nostaligic music of another age. Rudolf Tuláček was obviously a very fine player, to judge from his compositions, and these pieces were written with skill, expertise and heart. Here is salon music of the highest quality and music which deserves its place in our repertoire today. A concert in Oxford in 1994 with the Czech violinist, Tomáš Tuláček, led to the discovery of a number of original works for double bass and piano by his great-uncle Rudolf Tuláček, an eminent double bassist in Brno and Zagreb and a significant link within the Brno School of Double Bass. Communication began with Dr. Emilie Balátová-Tuláčková, Tomáš's aunt, who had been an eminent Czech botanist and vegetation scientist, and we maintained regular contact by letter until her death in 2005. Dr. Balátová was so pleased that someone was interested in the music of her father and was very helpful in providing copies of the music alongside photographs and biographical information. We only met once, at her apartment in Brno in 2003 when I was the UK juror at the Brno International Double Bass Competition at the Janacek Academy of Music. We spent a few hours together and she was delightful and charming company, although in declining health, but made me so welcome and our meeting is a memory I will treasure." David Heyes [7 September 2015]

See https://dbbpublications.gumroad.com/l/3tulacek


  • Berceuse (Cradle Song)
  • Chant d'Amour
  • Valse Miniature
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Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music: Bowed Strings 2020 - 2023   (until Dec 2023)  

Double Bass - grade 8

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Cat No. RM021
Price £12.50
ComposerRudolf Tulácek
EditorDavid Heyes
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
PublisherRecital Music
SeriesHeritage Series
Difficulty level8
ISMN 979-0-57045-021-3
EAN-13 9790570450213
Weight 88 grams
Published 3rd November 2008
Availability 16 in stock
See also...
RM001  Canzonetta
RM018  The Ragtime Bass Player
RM021  Three Pieces for Double Bass and Piano
RM045  Feuille d'Album
RM532  Concerto in C# minor
RM699  Scherzo
RM731  No Man's Land