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Alkan Variations

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Alkan Variations was composed in 2002, is scored for 2 double basses and piano, and the double bass parts are edited by David Heyes. This first edition includes two double bass parts, for both solo and orchestral tunings, and a piano accompaniment.


Peter Lamb writes: "This set of variations are based on an attractive and simple theme by Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) who was born and died in Paris. Born in the same year as Verdi and Wagner, he was a remarkable figure and used 'Alkan' as a pseudonym; his real name being Charles Henry Valentin Morhange.

A true wunderkind, Alkan became a pianist of prodigious powers and was a well-known virtuoso by the age of 17. His pianism was considered the equal of Liszt, yet his natural reticence denied him a concert career and he became a recluse.

The theme on which these variations are based stimulated Alkan to compose a set of 25 variations on Aesop's fabled animals. The double bass variations have no such pretensions, but simply set out to explore some possibilities offered by Alkan's jolly theme, taking a journey through the keys, perhaps reflecting something of the character of each and, I hope, thereby illuminating Alkan's theme in various tonal colours."


Alkan Variations was premiered at Bass-Fest 2004 (Sherborne School, Dorset, UK) on 3 April 2004 by David Heyes (double bass), Mette Hanskov (double bass) and Mark Cracknell (piano).


Peter Lamb (1925-2013) was born in London and studied composition at Trinity College of Music, subsequently with Arthur Benjamin, and was awarded a Fellowship of Trinity College for his First String Quartet.

He combined a busy career as a professional composer and music administrator, initially working for two international record companies before an appointemnt as Deputy Manager of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Here he worked on programme building with the eminent conductor Constantin Silvestri, and also helped to establish the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. For ten years he was Head of Music at Peter Symonds' College in Winchester and, prior to his retirement, lectured at the University of Southampton for eight years.

Peter Lamb's music has been performed worldwide, from Britain, France and Sweden, to Brazil, Canada and America, and significant works include a Flute Sonata, Flute Sonatina, Duologue for oboe and piano, a String Quartet, Concerto for viola and string orchestra, Wind Quintet, and many unaccompanied choral works. His compositional style combines a quintessentially English quality with a clarity of line and expression, incorporating a rich and varied harmonic palette and a gallic charm, producing music of strong character and distinction.

In recent years Peter Lamb wrote a number of works for double bass - for players of all ages and abilities - helping to increase the quality and breadth of modern English music for the instrument.

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Cat No. RM684
Supplier Code RM684
Price £14.00
ComposerPeter Lamb
CategoriesDouble Bass Duet
Two Double Basses & Piano
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-684-0
EAN-13 9790570456840
Weight 161 grams
Published 29th December 2013
Availability 1 in stock
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