A rare British work dating from 1954 and composed for Eugene Cruft, a leading British orchestral bassist and teacher at the time. Maconchy was an important but much undervalued composer and has written a work of great inventiveness, utilising the full range of the instrument. Advanced, though always idiomatic, these are modern but lyrical miniatures which make a useful and important addition to the solo repertoire. Unpublished until this edition and with helpful guidance from Nicola LeFanu, the composer's daughter.
Performance Level: Advanced
LLCM in Performance
"Four Improvisations was written for Eugene Cruft, a very well respected double bass player and teacher whom I remember well from my first National Youth Orchestra course. It was he who taught me to imagine putting a matchbox between the first and second fingers of my left hand in half position if I wanted to play in tune! The Four Improvisations are challenging, but well written for the double bass. No. 1, Moderato, has a melodic lilt and requires good shifting to sustain the changing octaves which are characteristic of the piece. No.2 has a searching improvisatory feel as it changes speeds and moods. No.3 is a meditative slow movement with left hand pizzicato punctuating a flowing melodic line. No.4 has a more rhythmic drive - almost a perpetuum mobile. A totally different kettle of fish from the Dragonetti Waltzes, but equally good unaccompanied music for a recital." [ESTA - News & Views]