'Two 18th-Century Pieces,' Arranged for Double Bass and Piano by H. Samuel Sterling (Stainer & Bell, £4.75)
The book comes with a score and a bass part
The two 18th-century pieces included in this book are “Tambourin,” by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764), and Larghetto, by either Tommaso or Guiseppe Giordani. The Larghetto is a recognizable aria better known by its original name “Caro mio ben.” Whether “Caro mio ben” was written by Tommaso or Giuseppe Giordani, two Italian brothers who were popular opera composers, is up for debate. The aria is slow and delicate and provides a good exercise for bassists in expressive playing.
Rameau’s “Tambourin” is another recognizable Baroque melody, but its quick tempo and big sound provide a good balance to the Giordani. Rameau was, like the Giordani brothers, a dedicated composer of operas, but he is also known for his contributions to music theory and for his 65 harpsichord pieces. “Tambourin,” originally written for harpsichord in 1724, is a strong and lively piece that is fitting for this new bass arrangement.
The book comes with a score and a bass part. Neither part contains fingering or tempo markings, but the dynamic markings are clear. There is no page break between the two pieces, which seems odd, as the pieces are not necessarily going to be played one after the other. Both pieces are short, however, and this formatting saves space. Sterling’s arrangements are sure to be a rewarding challenge for any intermediate-level bassist.