The Adventures of George
For unaccompanied double bass, written by David Heyes.
These pieces were written for a 10 year old bassist called George.
1) George's Great Adventure remains in 1st position throughout, employing a limited number of notes and rhythms, with simple slurs on the G string. The introduction of percussion adds an extra challenge and helps to create a strong and confident final bar. The piece is in G major, has a happy and positive feel throughout and with few challenges.
2) George Goes Hiking uses 1st and 4th positions with a recurring chromatic motif alongside rhythmic foot stamps. Crotchets and quavers are used, also simple string crossings and dynamic contrasts, to create a lively piece full of energy and drive.
3) George the Gymnast is the shortest of the set and is primarily in 1st position, in G major, with the addition of a few notes in 4th position. The rhythm used in the first bar acts as a unifying feature throughout and there are very few technical challenges.
4) George Make a Splash! is marked 'smooth and swimmingly' and introduces slurred bowing in 1st and 4th positions. The addition of false harmonics adds a new challenge and the 'splash' is created with a spread chord played below the bridge.
5) George at the Gallop introduces col legno and left-hand pizzicato alongside major and minor tonalities and chromatic patterns in 4th position. The changes from col legno to left-hand pizzicato and then to arco create new technical opportunities, with the ringing artificial harmonic evoking George and his horse successfully jumping a fence in the showground.
6) George Plays his Scales is a fun exercise in scale passages but hidden within a musical framework. Major and minor scales are introduced, alongside pizzicato, developing effective shifts between 1st and 3rd positions.
7) George Wins his Race is centred around the key of A minor and is in 6/8 time. 2nd position is introduced, alongside 1st and 4th positions, and two rhythmic patterns are used throughout with an accelerando at the end as George wins his race.
8) George flies to Outer Space is one of George's favourite pieces and begins with the rocket engines being fired up. The rocket is launched, climbs higher and higher and eventually George floats through outer space. The piece features double stops, chromatic passage work, long harmonic notes and harmonic glissandos on the G string with the sound gradually dying away as the rocket continues on its journey.
9) George visits Stonehenge is also one of George's favourite pieces and offers magical and mysterious music for the young bassist. The music is slow and sonorous with the addition of pizzicato chords using the open strings, dramatic double stops played arco, and the opportunity to explore a range of playing styles and effects.
10) George goes Green is an exercise in recycling. George chose two bars from each of the previous pieces which I put together, with a few links, to create a new piece. It is the most challenging of the series but George succeeded magnificently.
11) George is Dreaming is slow and relaxed, adding new playing challenges in Half and 4th positions. Natural and false harmonics are used to create an atmospheric and evocative sound world alongside left-hand pizzicatos which add a new dimension.
12) George's Grand Finale is a fast and fun piece and is in the happy key of D major. A strong rhythmic energy and momentum brings together techniques used throughout the series, ending with a confident and triumphal Bartok pizzicato note.