This is a guest post from German bassist Andreas Wiebecke-Gottstein. Learn more about Andreas at his website www.probass.de. Enjoy!
„Do you know Thoedor Albin Findeisen?„ – „ Findeisen? – Isn´t it this guy who has written this
double bass method!„ So, in any case, most double-bass players and double bass learners will
answer to this question which was put some years ago by Prof. Fritz Massmann to the PRObass
music publishing house and pushed with it a process which leads, in the end, to the heading of
this article. Massmann, in the meantime, more than 80 years old, was a professor for double bass
in Trossingen, Germany, and is also active even today for his instrument without playing it even
Nearly no one still knows that Theodor Albin Findeisen has written beside this method also solo-
and chamber-music for double bass. This happened also to Findeisen his colleague Franz Si-
mandl whose double bass school is likewise still used while his other works for double bass are
as unknown, however, even among bassists. The reasons for this can ´t be cleared with this artic-
le. Here should be reminded, above all, of the work by Findeisen.
Although there is even a substantial number of solo concertos for double bass and orchestra (pos-
sibly even more than for the viola), only three of them are known generally or are played most:
There is, firstly, from the time of the Viennese classical period the concerto for double bass and
orchestra by Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf which has developed to the standard work for double
bassists, followed by the romantic concertos for double bass and orchestra by Giovanni Bottesini
and Sergei Koussevitzky. Both smashed after a soloist‘s career on the double bass a second as a
conductor. Besides, the first concerto for double bass and orchestra by Theodor Albin Findeisen
is able to compete absolutely with other concertos possibly from Bottesini, in the opinion of
Prof. Fritz Massmann who has heard it many years ago in a performance with piano by the Find-
eisen pupil Horst Stöhr and which is memorable to him since that time as impressively,
Whether the PRObass music publishing house would have interest to publish this concert, Mass-
mann asked, because the concerto was not available for a long time. In the end, the PRObass mu-
sic publishing house tries hard for some years to publish literature especially for double bass –
the name is concept. Of course the publishing company has interest! But in addition one needs
the original score. So it was investigated by phone and email among double bass colleagues and
teachers and orchestras – however, without any success.
Also the Internet does not have to offer a lot: here sometimes the mention of a duet for violin and
double bass, there sometimes a double bass quartet, studies and of course „Der Lehrer des Kon-
trabaßspieles“ – just that double bass school which makes the name Findeisen still memorable
among bassists – and just the life data: 1881-1936.
Finally, an article in the first issue in the year 2005 of the magazine „Bass World“, the linguistic
organ of the international society of bassists, written by the Danish bassists Ture Damhus and
Preben Fahnoe, is able to bring some light into the darkness: One finds out that Findeisen stu-
died double bass from 1904 to 1906 with J. O. Schwabe in the royal conservatory of music in
Leipzig and received an excellent certificate. In 1907 he became a double-bass player of the Ge-
wandhaus orchestra in Leipzig, in 1922 he took over, in addition, a teaching position in the Leip-
zig conservatory. He maintained both positions up to his sudden and early death in 1936.
His work encloses beside training aid like o.g. School and various big and small studies different
works for double bass solo, with piano and with orchestral accompaniment whose originals seem
to be lost, however. One knows about most of them not even more as the work titles, neverthe-
less, the work enumeration begins with op. 9 with the „Nixenreigen-Fantasie“ for double bass
and piano and ends with op. 34 with a cadenza for the double bass concerto by Franz Simandl. In
between only seven other works are known, of it two concertos for double bass and orchestra.
Why are these works practically missing in contrast to his teaching works? As an answer here
the following supposition: As a successful teacher with successful pupils who became themsel-
ves teacher, he could provide in a certain way after his lifetime for the spreading of his teaching
works. Still today, in addition, his school is in the specialised trade.
Two fate-laden factors were against the spreading of his remaining works: on the one hand, the
early death Findeisens and, in the end, the disappearance of the publishing company in which his
works had appeared.
Around the middle of the year 2005 the PRObass music publishing house received, in the end, an
e-mail from the archive of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. This had been one of the first and
most obvious addresses for the search for the concert. In the meantime one has got the score of
the first double bass concerto as a gift from the widow of a grandson‘s pupil of Findeisen. With
it one of his most important works returned nearly 70 years after Findeisens death.
Of course one was ready in the archive of the Gewandhaus to provide a copy of the score, howe-
ver, one asked for patience. Christmas 2005 this copy, finally, got to the PRObass publishing
house. The new year began with the conversion of the score for a new publication. All the other
projects of the publishing company wered leaved aside.
The work on the concert gave pleasure more and more. It is a late-romantic music with relatively
big orchestra accompaniment what mostly brings problems with deep solo instruments. Here, ne-
vertheless, the instrumentation is handled very sensitively. And although the first mouvement is
in minor key, the concerto has all together a positive, happy mood. In particular the third mouve-
ment which is headlined with the unusual tempo name „jocularly“ is full of irony and will keep
the listener into a good mood.
Since the 1st October, 2006 the concert is available as an issue for double bass and piano in the
PRObass music publishing house. Only the orchestra material is to be hired as usual as a lending
On the 8th February, 2007 the performance of the concerto took place in the concert church Neu-
brandenburg by the internationally known female soloist and professor for double bass in the
Mozarteum in Salzburg, Christine Hoock, and the philharmonic orchestra of Neubrandenburg,
Germany, under the direction of Charles Olivieri-Munroe. Other performances followed on the
9th February, 2007 in the theatre of Güstrow as well as on the 11th February, 2007 in the theatre
of Neustrelitz by the same interpreters.
It is to be hoped that this work receives his entitled place in the repertoire of the modern double
bass player and opens a gate also to other works by Findeisen. In the meantime the „Carnevals-
scenen“ op. 12 for double bass and orchestra are available in the PRObass music publishing hou-
se as an issue for double bass with piano. Besides the PRObass music publishing house plans the
republication of Findeisens quartet suite op. 26 as well as his 2nd double bass concerto op. 25 in
Those who are interested can hear an example of Findeisens double bass concerto on the home-
page of the PRObass music publishing house (www.probass.de). The double bass voice was
played by Andreas Wiebecke-Gottstein, principal bassist of the philharmonic orchestra Neubran-
denburg, Germany, and founder of the PRObass music publishing house, in his practise room at
home. Then the orchestral accompaniment was played in the computer to the best versions of
these recordings. The recording serves more demonstration purposes, as that it could be a full au-
dio production. „ The concert counts certainly to the most demanding pieces for the double bass,
„ Wiebecke-Gottstein tells and further explains: „Nevertheless, above all, in the last mouvement
I have clearly felt my borders. I have more admiration for Christine Hoock who played the com-
plete concerto live one mouvement after the other, and this even quite perfectly, while I could al-
low myself rests between the single recordings and take generally time for it.“ Also Findeisens
„Carnevalsszenen“ Wiebecke-Gottstein recorded in this manner for demonstration. This is like-
wise listenable on the homepage of the publishing company together with other works which are
published also in the PRObass music publishing house as for example the two concertos for
double bass and orchestra by Dittersdorf.
Maybe even other works of Findeisen are found by these publications on some attics and some
double bass player remembers some information about Findeisen´s life about which furthermore
only a little more than what is said here can be told: Now the book „Das Gewandhausorchester“
by Hans-Rainer Jung has appeared, which delivers information about all musicians of the Ge-
wandhausorchester since 1743 thus also more precise life data about Findeisen: Born on the 1st
October, 1881 in Zeitz as a son of the businessman Findeisen he visited till 1900 the music
school in Ronneburg and was afterwards in the city orchestra of Köthen. For more studies he vi-
sited Dresden and Vienna before his study in Leipzig. After the study in Leipzig he became prin-
cipal bassist in Breslau for a year. In 1907 he started the position as the second 1-st double bass
player in the Gewandhaus, in 1920 he became first 1-st double-bass player there. He passed
away on 3. March, 1936 in Rasberg near Zeitz and left woman and two children.
Many questions are still open: What has Findeisen to do with Friedrich Warnecke, a double bass
player of that time and bass teacher in Hamburg to which Findeisen´s first concerto is dedicated
to? After present state of knowledge he was not his pupil. An acceptance was that Findeisen and
Warnecke have become acquainted in the festival orchestra in Bayreuth. Indeed, only Findeisen
is to be found in the membership list of the festival orchestra, namely for 1914 and 1924.
If anybody can make closer information about the life and work of Findeisen, this should be pas-
sed on to the PRObass music publishing house, e.g., with the contact form in the shop area of the
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