This photo of Domenico Dragonetti’s Gasparo da Salò comes from Italian bassist Vito Liuzzi. Note the broad shoulders, richly colored varnish, and three string set-up.
A student of mine recently performed the Dragonetti Concerto with orchestra, and he pointed out these very entertaining program notes from Paul Serotsky. This is not exactly the way most composers are featured in concert program notes, but Dragonetti an unusual guy, truly a larger-than-life figure from the classic traveling virtuoso mold:
In common with other “oddball” solo instruments, the double-bass’ problem is repertoire, which certainly in Dragonetti’s day leant heavily on arrangements, so it was lucky indeed for him that he could write as well as play. Dragonetti may not have been a great composer but, apparently, he was well able to translate his performing abilities into music having an abundance of easy charm, tunefulness and vigour. Moreover (unlike some I could mention), far from relegating the orchestra to menial accompanist for his virtuosic acrobatics he treats it with a fair bit of imagination, no mean feat considering the very particular problems of balance.
Read the complete notes here.
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