The deadline for applying for the 2014 European Bass Convention in Almere City is June 30. Details from Convention president Hans Roelofsen follow:
June 30 is the final date to enroll for the jazz-, the youth- and the orchestra auditions competition. Enrollment for the jazz-, the youth- and auditions competition is still open.
There is plenty of room for presentations especially in the jazz department, but even in the classical section a few more colleagues could be accommodated. Closing date is June 30th.
For the solo classic competition 25 candidates have been invited to go on to the second round.
The initial selection of the classical solo competition through audio and video files.
Everyone was requested to present a recording of two parts of a classical concert – with satisfying results. An additional requirement was the presentation of two contrasting parts from a Bach suite for cello solo. Some opted for the higher ‘thumb’ positions, others for medium positions, which made the comparison difficult as the lower register naturally produces a richer sound than the higher one. The third obligatory work was the Intermezzo and Tarantella for double bass (1905) by Rheinhold Glière (commissioned by Koussevitsky). The simple and smooth-flowing main theme of the Intermezzo proved to be a technical obstacle for many, as was the broad melodic second theme of the Tarantella. In the thumb positions these melodies do not sound as rich as the composer must have imagined or the listener would expect, being unaware of the technical difficulties. Another problem in comparing the presentations (recordings that were converted into anonymous audio files) was that some were recorded with a microphone near to the bass, whereas others were recorded with bass and piano at equal distance. For these reasons all contenders, who seemed to meet all the requirements, have been invited for a second round, where conditions will be equal for all, thus making it possible for the jury to arrive at a fair and final comparison.
De Fesch sonata, obligatory piece in the second round.
To introduce all participants to a little-known native composer (Willem De Fesch, contemporary of Bach and Handel) we chose his Sonata for Cello in d minor, transposed for the double bass to a minor and published in versions with piano accompaniment for study purposes and figured bass for a performance in a more authentic style. At the convention all participants will play the first two movements of this work with a basso continuo (harpsichord and second bass) provided by the organisation. This accompaniment will enable participants to demonstrate their command of the subtle technique of the elegant late baroque or rococo style, without the danger of being drowned out by a grand piano.
Judging performances of different editions of early music is generally difficult. IMC editions for instance mostly originate from the days when knowledge of authentic reproduction was practically nil. Often the word “cello” was simply replaced by “bass” a fingering added and the same pianopart was used with the bass sounding an octave lower than the composer had in mind. In comparison with available editions for singers ( transpositions to suit the range of the voice) bass players are confronted with the problem, that pieces originally written for cello, played in the same range or an octave lower, always tend to sound less brilliant. (Luckily there are exceptions like works by Glazunov – no coincidence because in Russia the bass has always played an important role, both in church music and in the opera.)
For the semi final round candidates are to perform the first movement of a romantic sonata. They have to choose from four transcriptions and the 2nd Misek Sonata. And then there is either a free modern work or two movements of Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Bass and Piano. From this second round a maximum of six candidates will be selected for the finals at the Amsterdam Music Academy on Thursday 28th. In this final presentation they will play a solo concerto with piano accompaniment and the winner will be allowed to add a work from the second round of his or her own choice. All rounds and presentations are open to colleagues, students and the general public.
Almere Theater chosen as the ideal venue for the Competition and Convention
In Almere Theatre building we have three halls, 25 small studios and 10 multi-purpose studios at our disposal – This makes an ideal venue for the combination of competitions and congress. See the program under schedule on the website. The opening concert on August 25th, an evening program on the first day, and the final concert on August 29th will take place in the main hall of the Almere Theatre. The final round of the competitions and presentations of the winners of classical and jazz competition are at the Haitink Hall and Blue Note Hall of the Amsterdam Academy of Music.
Lectures, masterclasses and most of the concerts will take place in Almere theatre. In addition on the nights of August 26 and 27 classical concerts will be held in the attractive Amstel Church in Amsterdam while jazz concerts will take place in the halls of nearby Splendor.
Preceding the concert in the Amstel Church, there will be a boat trip through the canals. We will go on board at Amsterdam Central Station at 6:30 p.m. and the trip will end right at the church. If you are interested please make a reservation on the website. We can accommodate max 50. A combination ticket for boat trip and concert is €35. ( students and youth € 25 )
Also we have an option for a day’s cruise on a large two-masted schooner on Saturday 30th. We need to know if there is enough interest (max50) – so those who want to come please let us know a.s.a.p. !
Boarding in Almere the schooner will sail to the historic town of Enkhuizen where we will visit the characteristic town centre. Cost inclusive food and all drinks € 80 Certainly a unique experience!
Should be attractive for all who will stay until Sunday.
Warmly welcoming you all to the Bass Covention in Almere City and Amsterdam in August!
On behalf of our team,
president Bass 2014