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Traviata Sinfonia

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100 publications in this series

The Transcriptions Series series

Recital Music publish a wealth of original works for double bass alongside a popular, accessible and growing range of transcriptions for bassists of all ages and abilities. Most transcriptions published by Recital Music are by David Heyes, who has a successful and proven track record when arranging for double bass.

Bernard Salles writes: " I wrote this arrangement of Verdi's famous opera 'La Traviata' for the double bassists of La Scala, Milan. In 2014 they gave a concert on the stage of this famous opera house, and played my transcription for double bass ensemble of Bizet's opera 'Carmen'. As they were looking for more music for double bass ensemble based around Italian opera, it was not difficult for me to choose one of Verdi's most beautiful operas as my next project.

The literal translation of 'traviata' is 'to be led astray', 'perverted' or 'skewed'. Violetta does not follow the 'right' path in the eyes of society, she doesn't fit the rules and lives as she wants to. But she is a woman who, for the love of Alfredo, is ready to give up this life. Unfortunately, Germont, Alfredo's father, doesn't understand this and concocts a plan to force Violetta to forget the man she loves, whilst making Alfonso believe that Violetta left him. Already suffering from tuberculosis, the illness now takes a full hold over Violetta. A month later, Alfredo learns that Violetta never stopped loving him and that she sacrificed himself to save his reputation. Overwhelmed with remorse, he runs to her bedside but it is too late. Violetta dies in his arms.

Verdi's opera is a true chef d'oeuvre, despite the fiasco of its premiere (mostly due to the prima donna who was a little too plump to be credible!). The subject matter disturbed the audience and was ahead of its time, prefiguring Puccini's great operas and the Italian verismo movement.

The opera is filled with the most stunning arias, from the joyful to the tragic: the entire scope of human passion is represented in music. It was difficult to choose from so many masterpieces!

The title I chose is in fact a little ironic: 'Traviata Sinfonia' can also be translated as 'skewed symphony' - just right for a piece which transforms bel canto into double bass ensemble. I selected eleven arias, transposing them so they can be played more easily on the double bass. With the exception of the last piece, they follow the chronological order of the opera, and I hope they precis the story fairly well." [Translated from French by Eleanor Martindale]

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.


  • 1. Preludio
  • 2. Introduzione
  • 3. Libiamo
  • 4. Un dì felice
  • 5. Ah, Fors'è Lui
  • 6. Sempre Libera
  • 7. O Mio remorso
  • 8. Di Provenza
  • 9. Noi Siamo Zingarelle
  • 10. Addio del passato

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Cat No. RM875
Supplier Code RM875
Price £20.00
ComposerGiuseppe Verdi
ArrangerBernard Salles
CategoryDouble Bass Quartet
PublisherRecital Music
SeriesTranscriptions Series
Difficulty levelAdvanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-875-2
EAN-13 9790570458752
Weight 254 grams
Published 14th April 2016
Availability 2 in stock