Already four years ago, Concerto published an album dedicated to that artist who has been referred to, without any exaggeration, as the Paganini of the double bass. That album might be dubbed exploratory, and featured by the same extraordinary performing artists. Now a second, definitive album is being published, an album which will enrich our knowledge of works for double bass and violin by the composer from Crema. Although his reputation as a virtuoso in the Mephistophelean, Paganinian or Listzian sense dominates the period’s iconography, and for that matter even the memories of those of us who have come after, in reality Bottesini was the consummate composer. He was eclectic, versatile, one who proffered – sparingly – to write melodramas, but one who also assiduously cultivated other types of music: sacred music, an orchestral genre similar to a “poema sinfonico” and, above all, all types of chamber music with a significant corpus of quartets and quintets. Naturally he wrote numerous pieces of chamber music featuring his instrument. And, as is well known, he revolutionized both technique and tone of the double bass. They are astounding pieces for the fact that, expressively, they are very balanced, holding many very different aspects together: virtuosity (naturally since he was the greatest virtuoso of the double bass of all times), a deeply rooted melodic vein, the typically romantic tone then prevalent, and even a structural thought, a kind of formal structure. Balance and poetry that you would not expect in a performer, who captivated crowds (and royalty) soliciting emotions and fainting, similar to what happens in today’s rock concerts.
Great performance by Francesco Siragusa who in 1997 was selected by Maestro Riccardo Muti to enter “Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala” and “Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala” in Milan, where he currently works.
His performances are enthusiastically welcomed everywhere, thanks to his extraordinary temperament and the unique voice he obtains from his double bass.
Artwork: Gianluca Corona, Calla, 1999 – oil on wood