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Two for Three

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Two for Three was written for Oystein Birkeland and Dan Styffe, and is dedicated to them. The duet consists of three movements for two musicians – hence the title.
The first movement – Moderato – is a long recitative in which the two instruments dialogue with each other, as two people having a conversation. The first theme is exposed by the cello alone, then repeated in canon by the double bass whilst the cello develops a second theme, still based on the first melody. Like a chorale, each fragment of melody reaches its end with a pause which reunites the two instruments. Eight sequences follow on in this manner. The last one repeats the first, but is played by the double bass with a long held note on the cello.
Second movement – Chorale. Constructed like a Lutheran chorale, the two instruments develop a simple melody with long, double stopped notes, as if imitating a hypothetical organ with the bow.
Third movement – Presto ritmico. Over a double bass ostinato, the cello develops the first melodic cell which takes its essence from the first movement. The themes follow each other and are reversed, each theme taken in turn by the cello or the double bass. At the end of this first sequence is a rigorous counterpoint in canon between the two instruments, all the time keeping the ostinato of repeated quavers. The piece gains its strength from the unity (monotony?) of these virtually unchangeable quavers. The last sequence finally takes up the head of the first theme to conclude the movement at a monolithic pace.

Two for Three à été écrit pour Oystein Birkeland et Dan Styffe, à qui il est dédié. Le duo compte trois mouvements pour deux interprètes… D'où le titre.
Le premier mouvement – Moderato- et un long récitatif qui fait dialoguer les deux instruments, comme deux personnes échangeant une conversation. Le premier motif est exposé au violoncelle seul, puis repris en canon par la contrebasse, pendant que le violoncelle développe un autre motif, toujours basé sur la première mélopée. Comme un choral, chaque fragment de mélopée s'arrête sur un point d'orgue qui réuni les deux instruments. Huit séquences s'enchaînent ainsi. La dernière reprenant exactement la première, mais jouée à la contrebasse sur une longue tenue du violoncelle.
Deuxième mouvement : Choral. Construit comme un choral Luthérien, les deux instruments développent une mélodie simple en valeurs longues et en accords, comme pour imiter un hypothétique orgue à archet.
Troisième mouvement : Presto ritmico. Sur un obstinato de contrebasse, le violoncelle développe la première cellule mélodique qui tire son essence du premier mouvement. Les s'enchainent en renversement, le thème étant pris à tour de rôle par le violoncelle ou la contrebasse. A l'issu de cette première séquence, va s'enchaîner un contrepoint rigoureux en canon entre les deux instruments, tout en gardant l'obstinato des croches répétées. La pièce tire sa force de cette unité (monotonie ?) des croches quasi immuables. Enfin la dernière séquence reprendra la tête du premier thème pour conclure ce mouvement à l'allure monolithique.

Two for Three, fue escrito por Oystein Birkeland y Dan Styffe, a quien es dédicada. El dúo cuenta tres movimientos para dos intérpretes … De donde el título.
El primer movimiento – Moderato- es un recitativo largo que hace dialogar ambos instrumentos, como dos personas que cambian una conversacion. El primer motivo es expuesto al violoncelo solo, luego repetida en canon por el contrabajo, mientras que el violoncelo desarrolla otro motivo, siempre basado en la primera melopea. Como un coral, cada fragmento de melopea se para sobre un calderon que reunido ambos instrumentos. Ochos secuencias se encadenan asi. La última que exactamente repite la primera, pero es tocada al contrabajo sobre una nota pedal del violoncelo.
Segundo movimiento : Coral. Construido como un coral Luterana, ambos desarrollan una melodia simple en valores largas y en acuerdos, como para imitar un organo hipotético a arco. Tercer movimiento : Presto rítmico. Sobre un obstinato del contrabajo, el violoncelo desarrolla la primera célula melodica que saca su esencia del primer movimiento. Los motivos se encadenan en reverso, el tema que es tomado por turno por el violoncelo o el contrabjo. Despues de esta primera secuencia, va a encadenarse un contrapunto rigoroso en canon entre ambos instrumentos, guardando el obstinato de la corcheas repetidas. La pieza tira su fuerza de esta unidad (monotonia ?) de las corcheas casí inmutables. Por fin la última secuencia repetira la cabeza del primer tema para concluir este movimiento de caracter monolítico.

Bernard Salles was born in 1954 and began his musical education in his home town of Perpignan (France) where he studied double bass, organ, composition and orchestral conducting at the Conservatoire. In 1973 he want to the Conservatoire of Versailles and in 1976, at the age of 22, he was awarded a double bass teaching diploma. Since then he has taught at the Conservatoire of Pau (South-west France) and played with many major French orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris and the National Orchestra of France, under the direction of conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Metha and Lorin Maazel.

In 1983 he began a parallel career as a conductor and was Music Director of the Orchestra of Pau from 1996-2001. He has directed the Orchestra of Pamplona (Spain) and is currently Music Director of the OSSO (Orchestre Symphonique du Sud-Ouest).

As a composer and member of SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Editors of Music), he has written over 30 works including two symphonies, a cantata, a psalm for bass and orchestra, a concerto for double bass and small orchestra, Rhapsody for viola and orchestra, Triptych for orchestra, Prelude for cello and orchestra, a symphonic poem for soprano, cello and orchestra, as well as works for chamber groups, and for choir and organ. His pedagogic works are published by G.Billaudot in Paris and his works for double bass are published by Recital Music (England).

In 2010 he began a series of short pieces for unaccompanied double bass - Portraits for Friends - dedicated to his double bass playing friends.


  • Choral
  • Prélude
  • Presto

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Cat No. RM769
Supplier Code RM769
Price £12.50
ComposerBernard Salles
CategoryCello & Double Bass
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty levelAdvanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-769-4
EAN-13 9790570457694
Weight 160 grams
Published 2nd February 2015
Availability 6 in stock
See also...
RM009  Duets
RM193  Duo
RM275  Granito
RM422  Worcester Source
RM746  One for Two (FLUTE & DOUBLE BASS)
RM762  Clavreul Suite (CELLO SOLO)
RM780  Portraits for Friends Book 5 (DOUBLE BASS SOLO)