Double Bass Concerto in F sharp minor
Double Bass Concerto in B minor
Gran Duo Passione Amorosa
Boguslaw Furtok, Johannes
Stähle (double basses)
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Stephan Tetzlaff, Ulrich Edelmann (conductors)
CPO 999 665-2 (53
Known as 'the Paganini of the double bass', Bottesini raised the instrument
to prominence through the virtuosity of his playing. Yet he was a more
interesting figure still, a composer whose operas were held in high esteem,
who was also a conductor of some significance. In the latter capacity his
chief claim to fame is having conducted at the first performance of Verdi's
The nature of the double bass will always make it an occasional rather than
regular solo instrument, but these attractive concertos are far from oddities.
There is real eloquence in the slower music, while virtuosity is never in
short supply. But Bottesini left his music in less than clear editions, so
that two of these three concertos are featured in orchestrations by others,
including the soloist Boguslaw Furtok. They are highly effective orchestrations,
however, so there is no need for complaint, save for the inadequacy of the
accompanying note in explaining the situation about the individual pieces.
There is plenty of material of Bottesini in general, but precious little
about the music itself. That is a pity, and so is the discrepancy between
the track information on the back of the disc and within the booklet (the
latter is correct: there are ten tracks, not five).
The performances have fire and commitment, and eloquence when necessary.
The double bass may conjure expectations of its unsuitability as a solo
instrument, but hearing these warmly recorded performances will surely convince
even the most sceptical of listeners.