My Publications of Chamber Music for Editions Silvertrust

Editions Silvertrust, an important publisher of chamber music not otherwise available, has, in 2010, begun to publish my arrangements of second cello parts.   I am making String Quintets (originally for string quartet and cello, sometimes called “Parisian” type quintets) and String Sextets (originally for pairs of violins, violas, and cellos) a part of the double bass chamber music repertoire, greatly expanding it with superb music.
In making these arrangements, it is always my intention to create highly idiomatic double bass parts that function in lieu of the second cello part to equal for or better effect.  I am meticulous about detail.  I set the part in the original sounding octave, except where it is better to put it down an octave.  I reflect the composer’s idiosyncratic voice leading, style, and instrumental use.  I make all passages with multiple stops work and feel like double bass music.  I attempt to create a double bass part that the composer, himself, would have created if he were able to write for a modern double bassist.
I perform these arrangements with the Concert Artists of Kean University and have recorded some with them. Each of these compositions has taught me much and I have become a better double bassist technically by working with each of them.  I hope all double bassists who love chamber music will try them and come to accept and present them unabashedly as a permaninent part of our repertoire.
The arrangements are for sale at very reasonable prices at  A wonderful feature of the Silvertrust Website is that most works come with sound clips sampling all movements.  The page cited has all of Silvertrust’s publications that include double bass.
String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 18, and String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36 by Johannes Brahms are an excellent place to start exploring this repertoire.  The Cello II parts of these glorious works convert quite readily into double bass parts.  All chamber music is difficult, but except for a few spots, my double bass parts for these works will cause a good player few frowns.  One exception are the scales in the slow movement of the B-flat quintet, which, if it is any consolation, cellists also find thorny.  The scale passage is in octaves with the cello in my arrangement—something Brahms has the second cello do when it can.
[Errata:  In the G major Sextet last movement, a measure rest should appear before the first ending; letter D should be marked Animato and the E on beat 3 of m. 150 should be marked natural.]
String Quintet in C Major, “Great,” D. 956, by Franz Schubert is certainly the greatest cello quintet ever written, and it makes a great double bass quintet.  It was playing this work that set me on the path of arranging quintets and sextets.  I have recorded this with the Concert Artists of Kean University,  a performance of which I am very proud.  This work presents some technical challenges, but it is certainly worth the effort.  Many double bassists have played this work in their own arrangements, but I have never heard one that resolves the cello idioms into double bass idioms quite as well as I do, if I say so myself!
String Quintet in a minor, Op. 9 by Carl Goldmark is a real discovery.  Few musicians know this work or any music by Goldmark, the best of which is excellent.  The Quintet is especially wonderful and even more so with double bass. Goldmark so longed for a low B-natural in writing his string quintet that at one point he requires the second cellist to tune down the C-string.  It is amazing that he didn’t employ a double bass in the quintet himself; after all, the renowned Franz Simandl, Professor of Double Bass at the Vienna Conservatory and leading bassist of the Vienna Court Orchestra, was almost an exact contemporary.  My double bass part requires a fair amount of thumb position playing, but the music works so well on our instrument that the playing in high register is effortless.  A string quartet that performs this piece with a double bassist will have all its skepticism about arranged double bass parts erased.  Try this great piece.
[Errata:  m. 57 of the 1st movement should have an F-natural; m. 289 of this movement should be f not p; and m. 87 of the 3rd movement should have a D-natural.  Please excuse these minor transcription errors.]
Note:  The opening movement of the Goldmark Quintet has an unusual formal design:  it begins with an introduction in the Allegro molto tempo constructed of materials almost identical to Theme 1; I recommend, therefore, that the first movement be performed without observing the repeat of the exposition.  When we perform this work, we also cut mm. 480-488, inclusive.
String Sextet No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op.41 by Eduard Franck (a student of Mendelssohn’s and no relation to César Franck) is a very worthy piece by a very unjustly neglected composer.  After playing the Brahms sextets, this is one to try.  It’s like having a great piece of chamber music by Mendelsshon that includes a wonderful double bass part.  (Read what Silvertrust has to say about this piece and the next one.)
String Sextet No. 2 in D Major, Op.50 by Eduard Franck is also a worthy sextet, even if not as fine as the E-flat Major.  The double bass part is very comfortable, so less experienced players will want to play this.
Souvenir de Florence for String Sextet, Op. 70 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is the composer’s greatest piece of chamber music and one of his greatest compositions.  Again, I have rendered the second cello part into an idiomatic double bass part that is enormous fun to perform.  Playing this piece is an exhausting venture.  Imagine playing one of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with five other string players, one on a part!  That’s what it’s like, but what fun, and what wonderful music.  Lucas Drew made an arrangement of this work for string orchestra by creating a part for bass that doubles portions of the second cello part.  My arrangement is completely different:  it substitutes double bass for cello II making an effective alternate version of the piece.
String Quintet in F Major, Op. 77 by Felix Draeseke is a profound composition by a very interesting composer, who often wrote in a very challenging style.  The Quintet is extremely chromatic and polyphonic.  It is difficult but great fun to play.  (Draeseke was a member of the “New German” school of composition and, as such, a follower of Wagner.)  I began studying this work and came to admire it greatly.  I was saddened that the second cello part was so idiomatic that it could not be made into a fluent double bass part, but I continued to study the work and noticed that if I arranged both cello parts into an idiomatic cello part and an idiomatic bass part, the piece worked.  I was so pleased with the result of my labors that I programed the first all-Draeseke concert given in the U.S. and included the Quintet.  Alan Krueck (1839-2010) then Director of the Draeseke Society/NA came to Kean University from his home near Pittsburg to hear the concert.  He was very enthusiastic about my arrangement, which captured Draeseke’s idiosyncratic voice leading and style.  Dr. Krueck’s review of the concert can be found at  Double bassists who love Wagner should try this intreaging composition.
String Sextet in g minor, Op. 178 by Joachim Raff is a work I arranged at the suggestion of Alan Krueck, who was also a member of the Raff Society and who edited the publication of this piece in its original instrumentation for Edition Nordstern.  Raff, like Draeseke, was a member of the New German School, but his music is far more accessible.  This Sextet is challenging, but the third movement (theme and variations) is especially good and can be played alone as an independent piece.
[Raff’s tempo markings are often too fast.  Errata:  in m. 126 of the 3rd movement the last note should be F on the staff not C; in m. 267 the first note is E-natural.]
String Quintet in A Major, Op. 39 by Alexander Glazunov, is much loved by chamber musicians, and justly so.  It is a very sophisticated composition.  Arranging the second cello part of this quintet was especially challenging because the original cello part is very idiomatic.   Nevertheless, I was again successful in finding a double-bass idiom for every cello idiom.  The bass part works well and we now have another cherished work that we can claim for our chamber music repertoire.
String Quintet in G Major, Op. 14 by Sergei Taneyev. Taneyev was a student of Tchaikovsky’s and his music is as difficult to perform as his teacher’s. Arranging the Taneyev Quintet to include double bass was even more challenging than arranging the Glazunov Quintet, and the resultant bass part is rather difficult to play.  I recommend this to highly skilled double bassists who will relish the technical challenges in playing the part while they enjoy performing this excellent piece.
String Quintet in G Major, Op. 55 by Théodore Gouvy, a late-Romantic—is another find.  The last movement is especially attractive and can stand alone as a “Rondo” or encore piece.   If I may say so myself, my double bass part adds colors and, in the finale, figurations that make the work even more interesting.
I shall continue to arrange works for Silvertrust and they will be added to his catalogue as they become ready.  I hope double bassists will enjoying playing this great music as much as I do.
As yet unpublished:
Quintet in f minor by Alexander Borodin is an early work by a member of the “Mighty Five.”  The work is especially interesting to play in my arrangement because Borodin uses “voice exchange” as a feature of the composition.  (Voice exchange—German, Stimmtauschis a compositional device:  in repeating a passage, parts are exchanged, i.e., the music of one part is given to a second and vice versa.)  In the original, the two cello parts continually exchange material.  When the second cello part is arranged into a double bass part, new life is given to the piece, and the resulting bass part is great fun to play.