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Antarctica Suite

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Antarctica Suite is a five movement suite aimed at the young progressing bass quartet, also playable by largere forces. A wealth of colours, textures and timbres are explored offering effective musical and technical challenges for each bassist. Each movement is a miniature tone poem, often incorporating simple harmonics alongside the orchestral range of the instrument. The pieces have a didactic aspect as well as being great concert literature, offering much to the enterprising and adventurous bass quartet or ensemble.

Programme notes are by Michael Montgomery.

1. Antarctica - The Vast White Wilderness

Being a land known for its wide expanse and solitude, desolation and beauty, many of Antarctica’s faces are likely familiar to most who would consider her - several are here represented in this and the remaining four movements of the suite, which are intended to serve as musical snapshots of one of the most hostile and barren corners of our planet.

2. Totten - Mammoth River of Ice

In your mind’s eye picture the deep rushing torrents of the largest and fastest flowing river you can imagine, a tremendous aquatic highway draining the waters an entire continent out into a faraway sea. If you are able to freeze frame that image and give it the backdrop of an endless frozen wasteland, you will have conjured up for yourself the image of the great Totten Glacier of Antarctica, meandering and flowing ever so slowly from the centre of the continent northeast toward Cape Waldron and the Austral Ocean.

3. The Penguin - Tuxedo-clad Harlequin

Sometimes awkward, ever playful, the penguin is one of the most recognized and well-liked creatures of the land, and spending an afternoon enjoying the antics of this happy fellow among his playmates is perhaps the favourite pastime of any tourist who makes the pilgrimage to this frozen continent.

4. Orcinus Orca - The Killer Whale

During the many years I lived on the edge of the Everglades near the Miccosukee Indian reservation I was forever fascinated with the traditions and stories of this people. I can still remember the musings of Buffalo Tiger, shaman to the tribe, as he reminisced about the old ways, saying there were those who “still remember the song and could ride the whale”. The whale he referred to, of course, is the Orca, a creature found in each of the world’s oceans as well as many legends of indigenous peoples worldwide. While the character of the opening punctuations here portray the largest and most terrifying predator to prowl the Antarctic shoreline, the quality of the sweeter melody introduced midway the movement depicts a sentient being who is also an integral member of a surprisingly social family group.

5. Secret Gardens - Lakes Beneath the Ice

As you delve into this movement, picture yourself somehow shrunk to microscopic size and transported to a massive dark pool in a hidden world beneath a blanket of ice a half mile deep. Though isolated from the rest of planet you find yourself in the midst of an abundant thriving community of microbes, hidden and lurking for millennia in lakes beneath the continent's cold glacial ice, celebrating with endless dance their ancient existence.

Double bassist Michael Montgomery, a student of Robert Rohe and Lucas Drew, has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, played in the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, and now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where he teaches at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the Suzuki Music School of Arkansas. His articles have been published in American Suzuki Journal, Bass World, and Pastoral Music.


  • 1. Antarctica - The Vast White Wilderness
  • 2. Totten - Mammoth River of Ice
  • 3. The Penguin - Tuxedo-clad Harlequin
  • 4. Orcinius Orca - The Killer Whale
  • 5. Secret Gardens - Lakes Beneath the Ice

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Cat No. RM940
Supplier Code RM940
Price £15.00
ComposerMichael Montgomery
CategoryDouble Bass Quartet
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level4 - 7
ISMN 979-0-57045-940-7
EAN-13 9790570459407
Weight 183 grams
Published 21st June 2017
Availability 4 in stock
See also...
RM656  Giants & Gods - Five Quartets for Young Bassists
RM765  A Celtic Suite
RM786  Sketches of an Expedition (DOUBLE BASS & PIANO)
RM795  A Finland Suite (DOUBLE BASS SOLO)
RM870  Songs of Old Mexico
RM1011  The Crimean Coast