A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Rostropovich – The Genius of the Cello

So, I was just working on revising our Nursing reports when we lost connectivity to the datacenter in Brooklyn again. Hurricane Sandy has just left, but there’s a Nor’Easter calling. Its starting to snow outside.

Anyway, without the ability to stay connected to work, I’ve decided to take a few minutes to gush about something music-related: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich. I watched a documentary the other night called Rostropovich – The Genius of the Cello that aired on BBC. It was mindblowing to me. I wasn’t familiar with Rostropovich (called “Slava” by many of his friends and students) before, but after seeing the documentary, I wish I had heard more about him earlier. The passion and articulation that he commands when playing the cello are awe-inspiring. Sadly, he passed in 2007.

Rostropovich: The Genius Of The Cello

I know that on the TalkBass forums, some of the more advanced bassists turn to cello sheet music when looking for practice material. That’s one of the reasons that the documentary caught my eye. After watching it though, its the magnificence of Slava’s playing (and of his spirit and character) that stayed behind. I do think that this is something that other bassists would enjoy watching – and those of you who are more experienced than I am will likely gain even more out of it than I did. Maybe it will even give you new works to include in your practice regimen (or performances).

In the Jaco Pastorius Bass Method, Jaco is quoted as saying something to the effect of “Now, that’s pure music,” when either asked about or recommending the study of classical music for bassists (I can’t remember the exact wording, and I don’t want to run downstairs to grab the book yet). Seeing this documentary makes me whole-heartedly agree. So, on a related note, here are some classical-themed bass videos which I’ve come across that I think would fit in well with this blog entry:

‘Circle of Melodies’ – Solo Bass – Zander Zon

I came across this last night after researching the Cycle of Fifths/Circle of Fourths. More on that later, though. Zander Zon has many beautiful bass videos uploaded on Youtube. Apparently, he uses piccolo strings on his bass. I really like the sound.

Bach on Bass: Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello in G Major – Prelude

I’ve been watching Adam Neely‘s videos for a while now. This is one of 3 Bach videos he’s done, and it was one of the first classical pieces I saw on electric bass. I think that somewhere, he says that he’s using a 5-string bass with a high C string to play these. The high C string gives the ability to play these pieces in the cello range (yes, we’re still a little lower/deeper than what the cellists are able to achieve).

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