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The Double Bass

The elephant in the room? No, the Double Bass is much more.

It's huge; Its awkward; It's difficult to play; and while it’s totally pivotal to the musical spectrum, it's rarely talked about.
It's the epitome of the elephant in the room and yet, we'll discover why it is possibly the most underrated instrument in the orchestra.
Tom Service on the history and development of the largest and lowest pitched orchestral string instrument, and hears how it's played today. He's joined by performers Leon Bosch and Daphna Sadeh to discuss why the bass is much, much more than the elephant in the room.

Available now

30 minutes

Music Played

  • John Williams


    Performer: City of Prague Philharmoinic; The C.B Paul Bateman.
    • Silva Screen Records Ltd.
    • SILCD 1334.
  • Milt Hinton

    Bass Pandemonium

    Performer: Milt Hinton.
    • Jazz-Club Mainstream.
    • 845 150-2.
  • Ray Campi

    Rockin' at the Ritz

    Performer: Ray Campi.
    • High Tone Records.
    • HMG6603.
  • Lorne Balfe


    Conductor: Matt Dunkley. Performer: Studio Orchestra.
    • Paramount Music.
    • NFI.
  • The Cure

    The LoveCats

    • 069 814-2.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Le Carnaval des animaux

    Conductor: Neeme Järvi. Performer: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Chandos.
    • CHSA5162.
  • Franz Schubert

    Quintet in A major D.667 (Trout) for piano, violin, viola, cello & db

    Performer: Alois Posch. Performer: Frank Braley. Performer: Gautier Capuçon. Performer: Gérard Caussé. Performer: Renaud Capuçon.
    • Virgin.
    • 4556326.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Otello - dramma lirico in 4 acts

    Conductor: Riccardo Muti. Performer: Chicago S O..
    • CSO.
    • 9011301.
  • Joëlle Léandre

    To Day and To Morrow

    Performer: Joëlle Léandre.
    • Hat ART.
    • CD 6122.
  • Giovanni Bottesini

    Fantasia (Lucia di Lammermoor) for double bass and piano

    Performer: Leon Bosch. Performer: Sung-Suk Kang.
    • CDE 84587.
  • Daphna Sadeh

    Born in Parallel

    Performer: Daphna Sadeh.
    • 33Xtreme004.
    • 004.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Finlandia Op.26 for orchestra

    Conductor: Esa‐Pekka Salonen. Performer: Swedish R S O.
    • Sony.
    • SK46668.
  • Giovanni Paolo Cima

    Sonata per il violino e violone

    Performer: Roland Wilson. Performer: Musica fiata Koln.
    • sony classical.
    • s2k 66 254.
  • Henry Purcell

    Dido and Aeneas - opera in 3 acts Z.626

    Conductor: Anthony Lewis. Performer: Janet Baker. Performer: English Chamber Orchestra.
    • DECCA.
    • 466 387-2.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony no. 29 in A major K.201

    Performer: Trevor Pinnock. Performer: The English Concert.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 471666-2.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 9 in D minor Op.125 (Choral)

    Conductor: Claudio Abbado. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • DG 4690002.
  • Johann Baptist Vanhal

    Concerto in D major for double bass and orchestra

    Conductor: Paul Goodwin. Performer: Chi-Chi Nwanoku. Performer: Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
    • CDA-67179.
  • Jeanne Louise Dumont Farrenc

    Quintet no. 1 in A minor Op.30 for string trio, double bass & piano

    Performer: Linos Ensemble.
    • CPO.
    • 999194 2.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Duetto in D major for cello and double-bass

    Performer: Alain Meunier. Performer: Franco Petracchi.
    • decca.
    • 482 5103.
  • Giovanni Bottesini

    Concerto no. 2 in B minor for double bass and piano

    Conductor: Hugh Wolff. Performer: Edgar Meyer. Performer: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
    • SONY.
    • SK-60956.
  • Giovanni Bottesini

    Gran duo concertante vers. for violin, double bass and orchestra

    Conductor: Andrew Litton. Performer: Thomas Martin. Performer: English Chamber Orchestra.
    • ASV.
    • CD DCA-563.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony no. 1 in D major vers. original, in 5 mvts.

    Conductor: Iván Fischer. Performer: Budapest Festival Orchestra.
    • Channel.
    • CCSSA33112.
  • Fred Astaire

    Slap that Bass

    • CBS.
    • 46-5598-2.
  • Duke Ellington & Jimmy Blanton

    Mr J B Blues

    • RCA.
    • NL89 750.
  • The Big Three Trio & Willie Dixon

    88 Boogie

    • Columbia.
    • CK 46216.
  • Charles Mingus

    Haitian Fight Song

    Music Arranger: Sy Johnson.
    • Rhino/Atlantic.
    • R2-75590.
  • The Police

    Every Breath you Take

    • NA.
    • VTDCD-357.
  • Hans Zimmer

    The Oil

    Performer: Studio Orchestra.
    • Sony Classical.
    • 88985461482.
  • Allan Stephenson

    Burlesque for Double Bass and small orchestra

    Conductor: Allan Stephenson. Performer: Leon Bosch. Performer: Peter Martens. Performer: Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • CDE 84602.
  • Robin Walker

    Turning Towards You

    Performer: Leon Bosch. Performer: Min-Jung Kym.
  • Brian Ferneyhough

    Trittico per G.S. for double bass solo

    Performer: Stefano Scodanibbio (1956).
    • MO-782029.
  • Peggy Lee


    • VIRGIN.
    • VTCD-286.
  • Giovanni Bottesini

    Elegie in D major vers. double bass and pf

    Performer: Leon Bosch. Performer: Sung-Suk Kang.
    • CDE-84544.


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