Composed in 2021 at the request of the great double bass player Philippe Cormann (to whom it is dedicated), the Concerto for Contrabass is in three movements. At the beginning of the first movement, the orchestra builds a rhythmic ostinato on which the theme A played by the soloist will develop. After various modulations, this theme is taken up by the orchestra and leads to the central, quieter part, where the double bass plays the very lyrical theme B.
This is followed by a virtuoso cadenza by the soloist. A then returns, but in a varied form, to conclude the movement. The second movement is in ABA’ form. A confronts a rhythmic call played by the orchestra with a simple melody played by the double bass. At B, the orchestra plays an expressive motif and the double bass then unfolds a long, nostalgic theme over held chords in the orchestra. A’ uses the elements from the beginning, but ends with a brief return of the expressive motive from B played in the orchestra.
The third movement is very virtuosic and is based on a sixteenth-note ostinato played first by the double bass and then taken up by different sections of the orchestra. On this ostinato are grafted short, very recognisable motifs taken up in canon until a profuse conclusion.
The world premiere by Philippe Cormann and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie under the direction of Ektoras Tartanis took place on 16 October 2022 during the Lasne Music Festival (Belgium).
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