The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is ideal for the beginner/intermediate double bass quartet, was composed on 21/22 July 2016, and premiered by a massed bass orchestra at the Purcell School (Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK) on Sunday 24 July 2016.
In one movement and lasting around three minutes, it only uses 1st and 4th positions employing a number of exciting and engaging playing techniques including arco, pizzicato, harmonics, sul ponticello, percussion, col legno and Bartók pizzicato.
The music is colourful, lively and rhythmic, offering accessible musical and technical challenges, with something of interest for each part. Playable by quartet or larger forces.
“Great Wall was rehearsed in sectionals this morning and full orchestra before lunch – the varied textures and simplicity of melody were enjoyed by our huge range of bass players. Such a great teaching piece which I’m sure I’ll be using for years to come.” [Gemma Ashcroft
“The Chinese flavour in this quartet comes from the pentatonic melody played in fourths, mostly by basses 1 and 2. Bass 1 can be played in 4th position with the use of harmonic G. Bass uses first and fourth positions. Basses 3 and 4 are in first position. Bass 4 has some percussive effects. All parts have similar simple rhythms: crotchet, quaver and two semiquavers-quaver… The Great Wall of China would be an effective piece to put together in a workshop bass day with players of grades 1 to 5.” [Cathy Elliott / ARCO -ESTA]
The Great Wall of China had its US premiere on Friday 11 November 2016 at St. Vincent de Paul Church (Rogers, Arkansas)