Further to my other articles on auditions I thought I would mention some unusual pieces that I have been asked to play at auditions during the course of my career.
The English composer Sir Granville Bantock’s compositions are not played very much nowadays. He was a prolific composer, having written operas, ballets, choral works, orchestral works, chamber music, music for harp, cello, violin and viola and many songs.
He lived from 1868 until 1946 and was Principal of the Birmingham and Midland Institute School of Music where I first studied the double bass with Arthur Cockerill, the principal bass of the City of Birmingham Orchestra as it was then known, and the BBC Midland Orchestra.
His pieces were often performed by the BBC orchestras. Sir Adrian Boult was a champion of his compositions.
You can always count on a little bit of solo bass in his works. There is his Comedy Overture “The Pierrot of the Minute” which contains a difficult, exposed solo that I was once asked to play at a BBC audition. Another one to look out for is his Tone Poem #3, “Fifine at the Fair”.
If you care to spend time browsing through his works you will find many other bass solos.
There are many books of extracts of difficult bits for the bass but in future I shall try to give some relatively unknown ones which to the best of my knowledge aren’t in any collections.