Iaen Crawford/Double Bassist Magazine    

Naked bass (transscriptions from CD)
For solo db

Billed as ‚advanced studies for acoustic bass’, Austrian bassist Peter Herbert’s publication is in fact the transcriptions of performances on the CD of the same name, reviewed in this issue (see page 70). While there is no indication that the works are anything other than short compositions rather than studies, Herbert does seek to instruct and inform in revealing the techniques involved in producing the myriad colour and percussion effects so brilliantly displayed on the recorded work. To this end he has devised new notation in the form of symbols, which are not entirely successful. There are many anomalies: why present a hieroglyph for right-hand muting, in this case a partially shaded circle, and then explain it in text form above the staff on ist every appearance? There are other obstacles to hassle-free interpretation of herbert’s intentions, in particular the inadequate explanationof some of his techniques. Some things are hard to put into words, and illustrations or even a DVD af the performances would have been very useful. There is little point in approaching this music without the CD to refer to, both to ascertain categorically what the indicated effect should sound like and to understand stylistic requirements. Inaccuracies in the transcriptions are of no consequence with teh CD at hand, and many of the improvised sections not dictated would have been exhausting and unnecessary to reproduce. Other composers feature, and the inclusion of facsimiles of original scores is a nice touch. Joëlle Léandre’s handwritten score, ‚for Peter H.’, appears to have been written while in a fast-moving vehicle, and provides a fascinating insight into the mind of both composer and soloist. Despite the notational and technical challenges involved in reading and reproducing herbert’s music, the end result is highly rewarding. The CD is excellent, and in providing the dots, Herbert has opened up his personal sound world to all.

CD $14

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