Leon Bosch

The Russian Double Bass

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The Russian Double Bass Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Double bassist Leon Bosch continues on his successful recording spree of both popular and rare works for the double bass. This installment, his third on the Meridian label, is entitled The Russian Double Bass and includes both original (including Koussevitzky and Glière) and transcribed (from Rubinstein to Shostakovich) works for the instrument. Listeners will immediately notice the unmistakable vocal quality of the majority of pieces on the program, a fact the extensive and informative liner notes explain as appropriate given the frequency of heroic bass roles in Russian opera. Bosch plays with a sincere and almost palpable emotional connection with his music. While it would be easy to make any one of these selections sappy and overwrought, Bosch puts just the right amount of sentiment and drama into each note and phrase without crossing the line. His legato sound and ability to make long, well-connected phrases pairs well with the vocal quality of the music. As in his album, The British Double Bass, however, Bosch's sound is almost too warm...too resonate...for complete appreciation on a recorded medium. All but the highest reaches of his instrument's range are often muddy and articulation blurred. The recorded level of the album is also quite low, so listeners will need to turn up the volume and listen closely to be able to hear the more positive attributes of Bosch's performance. Kudos to pianist Sung-Suk Kang who deftly handles the daunting task of achieving a nice balance when accompanying a bassist.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Melodies (2) for piano, Op. 3
1 Leon Bosch 02:57 Amazon
2 Leon Bosch 03:34 Amazon
3 Leon Bosch 02:56 Amazon
4 Leon Bosch 03:40 Amazon
5 Leon Bosch 02:58 Amazon
6 Leon Bosch 04:01 Amazon
7 Leon Bosch 02:27 Amazon
Intermezzo and Tarantella for double bass & piano, Op. 9
8 Leon Bosch 03:39 Amazon
Trio élégiaque, for piano & strings in D minor, Op. 9
9 Leon Bosch 05:24 Amazon
Prelude & Scherzo for double bass & piano, Op. 32
10 Leon Bosch 04:00 Amazon
11 Leon Bosch 04:56 Amazon
Pieces (2) for violin & piano, Op. 6
12 Leon Bosch 04:31 Amazon
Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3
13 Leon Bosch 05:20 Amazon
A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin; Zhizn' za tsarya), opera, G. xii
14 Leon Bosch 04:23 Amazon
15 Leon Bosch 06:41 Amazon
The Gadfly Suite
16 Leon Bosch 02:46 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick