Keÿper, Franz: Romance and Rondo for Double Bass and Orchestra (Piano Reduction)

An easy virtuoso work published here for the first time and now much performed.
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KomponistKeyper, Franz
InstrumentationDouble Bass, Piano
ForlagYorke Edition
An easy virtuoso work published here for the first time and now much performed. Recorded Slatford/Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields (EMI). AMEB (Australian Syllabus) 2004.

Programme Note:
As a young professional player in the 1960s, my work as a double bassist with chamber ensembles and small orchestras took me all over the world. This presented an unparalleled opportunity to scour libraries and archives wherever I went. Long before the advent of the photocopier and e-mail, research was far more challenging than it is today. Eastern Europe was particularly difficult to access, with many collections kept under lock and key for all but a few hours a week. One quickly found colleagues who were keen to share information gleaned in passing, even though they had no specific interest in one's own particular specialism (it is so often the peripheral topics that fascinate as much as the main subject under investigation, and one can quickly be side-tracked into political and social issues that have only slender bearing on the job in hand!).

In the early 1970s James Brown, the then sub-principal oboist of the English Chamber Orchestra with whom I was working at the time, stumbled across a small collection of double bass manuscripts at the Royal Danish State Library in Copenhagen. They were by Franz Anton Leopold Keÿper (b. c.1756, d. Copenhagen 7 June 1815), a double bassist of Dutch origin who worked as principal of the Royal Chapel Orchestra in Copenhagen. Keÿper's son was the bassoonist Franz Jacob August Keÿper (1792-1859). The collection included a number of concertos, some chamber music, and various naïve fragments. Although hardly the work of a Mozart or Haydn, the style is characteristic of the period. For an instrument such as the double bass, whose 18th century solo repertoire is largely written for tunings that are no longer in everyday use, Keÿper's music is easily approachable in its elegance, charm and wit.

The Romance and Rondo is one of Keÿper's more accomplished pieces and survives with both solo and orchestral manuscript parts (oboes, horns, and strings). In the present edition, Keÿper's few original dynamic markings have been retained and others added where appropriate. The piano reduction is by Clifford Lee and the work was published in 1974. I subsequently recorded it with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and it has since found its way onto examination syllabuses and into competitions and music festivals throughout the world.

Rodney Slatford, May 2005