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biophilia - six little pieces for a brace of violas

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Price £8.50

The composer writes: 'Originally, and many years ago, I wrote a number of small piano pieces for my young children - now in their late thirties/early forties and who are the dedicatees of this overall work. I selected six that were mostly in two parts, and arranged or adapted them as double bass duos for Bass-Fest 2006 at Sherborne (Dorset). I have also rearranged them again, for two violas, principally because I had a request for such music from Jessica O'Leary and her Viola Club at Junior Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

I first came across the term 'biophilia' some years ago in a marvellous book called 'Nature Cure' by Richard Mabey, who explained that it was the entomologist and conservationist Edward O. Wilson who popularised the word 'biophilia' as a description of the pervasive affinity we humans appear to feel for animals and other creatures. Wilson writes optimistically in the prologue to his book, Biophilia (Harvard University Press, 1984), "...to the degree that we come to understand other organisms, we will place a greater value on them, and on ourselves."

The images I offer here in the individual titles of these six little duos are nothing more than possible metaphors for our own various human states, related to and through our potential fondness for a range of domestic pets. Such animals often become our earliest contact with, and thereford a dawning awareness or acknowledgement of, other species, together with a possible innocent introduction to a much larger biophilia picture.'

These six pieces can be played in any order, and in any groupings, at the player's discretion and are also available for double bass duo and cello duo.

John Alexander was born in West Sussex in 1942 and began to compose at the age of 20. At the time he discovered a fascination for art, literature, dance, architecture and sculpture and these topics, along with mathematics, have continued to have a bearing on his work. He studied composition with Edmund Rubbra at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and later with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex.

John Alexander has never been a prolific composer, but an impressive and growing body of work reflects a rare eye for detail and structure - each work beautifully crafted and reworked until every inflection, detail and nuance is perfect. Probably best described as a miniaturist, he writes in a fluent, independent and strongly personal style with an intense desire to create music which communicates to both performer and audience alike.

In 1999 John Alexander won the 1st BIBF Composition Contest and was invited to be a judge for several BIBF competitions. He was a featured composer at Bass-Fest 2001, was an spnm short-listed composer for three years, and was Composer-in-residence at the 2004 Rotterdam Conservatoire Double Bass Weekend, Bass-Fest 2006 and 2007 Wells Double Bass Weekend. His works have been performed and broadcast throughout the world and he was written an impressive and unique body of work for double bass.


  • 1. two (hydrophobic) hamsters
  • 2. two (calculating) cats
  • 3. two (tentative) tortoises
  • 4. two (dirty) dogs
  • 5. two (romancing) rabbits
  • 6. two (gluttonous) guinea pigs

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Cat No. RM361
Supplier Code RM361
Price £8.50
ComposerJohn Alexander
CategoryViola Duet
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level4 - 6
ISMN 979-0-57045-361-0
EAN-13 9790570453610
Weight 95 grams
Published 26th June 2012
Availability 6 in stock
See also...
RM523  biophilia - six little pieces for a brace of double basses (DOUBLE BASS DUET)