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Divergent Dances

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30 publications in this series

The Fizz @ 50 series

A series of fifty short pieces for double bass and piano from composers throughout the world, instigated by David Heyes to celebrate his 50th birthday. Each composer received a bottle of champagne (Fizz) as payment.

Armand Russell writes: 'Divergent Dances is divided into six sections of which the odd numbered sections are rather slow and the evne numbered ones much faster.

The three odd numbered sections are first a theme and then two variations. The three even numbered sections are named as Fast Dance 1, 2 and 3. Each one is different but use very similar ways of creating their themes using steps and small skips, often in succession. The overall effect of the form is that of a small rondo (ABACAD). Each of the sections uses a different diatonic mode. These are, in order G Phrygian, E Aeolian, D Ionian, F Mixolydian, A Dorian and G Lydian.

The sections alternate approaches to interpretation as well as tempos. The odd numbered sections and lyrical and more expressive and the odd numbered sections more rhythmic.

Throughout, but especially in the odd numbered sections, there is a need for the player to decide whether to finger the music to achieve a darker effect, using cross strings in higher positions, or a brighter effect with more shifts which use lower positions when possible. This is the player's choice and may be played differently in different sections or for each performance. The music does not use thumb position.'

Divergent Dances was premiered by Nic Lum (double bass) and Gemma Beeson (piano) at Wells Cathedral School (Somerset, UK) on Sunday 2 October 2011.

Armand Russell was born in Seattle, Washington in 1932. He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Washington, with a major in music composition, and a Doctorate in music composition from the Eastman School of Music. He studied double bass with Leslie Martin, who played in the Seattle Symphony and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and at the Eastman School of Music with Oscar Zimmerman. His composition studies were with John Verrall and George McKay at the University of Washington, and with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson at the Eastman School.

Professionally, Armand Russell played double bass in many orchestras including the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Tour Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic and Civic Orchestras, and Honolulu Symphony. For five years he taught as a visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music. From 1961 to 1994 he taught at the University of Hawaii Music Department and retired as Professor emeritus in 1994. While at the University of Hawaii he taught music theory, composition and double bass and also served as Chair of the Music Department for seven years.

Armand Russell has composed many works for double bass and also percussion, including solos, chamber music and concertos. Some of his most frequently performed works include Chaconne (Db/Pno), Buffo Set (Db/Pno), Harlequin Concerto (Db/Orch), Pas de Deux (Cl/Perc), Percussion Suite, Theme & Fantasia (Concert Band) and Suite Concertante (Tuba/Wind Quintet). He has also composed several works for choirs in recent years and has continued to write for the double bass alongside a growing body of chamber music and transcriptions.

Armand Russell's compositional style is confident and direct with a clarity of line and texture always to the fore. A modern, yet lyrical and accessible style, has created works which communicate equally to performers and audiences alike and he has made, and continues to make, a unique and valuable contribution to the double bass litereature throughout a long and successful career.

Recital Music is planning a celebration of Armand Russell's music at Bass-Fest in 2012 to celebrate the composers 80th birthday.

Syllabus info
Trinity College London: Bowed Strings & Harp 2016-2019   (until Dec 2019)  

Double Bass - grade 7

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Cat No. RM458
Supplier Code RM458
Price £6.50
ComposerArmand Russell
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
PublisherRecital Music
SeriesFizz @ 50
Difficulty level6 - 7
ISMN 979-0-57045-458-7
EAN-13 9790570454587
Weight 86 grams
Published 27th January 2012
Availability 7 in stock
See also...
RM301  4 Easy Pieces
RM545  Hawai'i Variations