Double Bass Quartets by Rossini and Hoffmeister
Minna Pensola (Meta4 Quartet) violin
Antti Tikkanen (Meta4 Quartet) violin / viola
Tuomas Lehto cello
Niek de Groot double bass
Gioachino Rossini Sonata a quattro no. 2
Franz Anton Hoffmeister Solo Quartet no. 2
Gioachino Rossini Sonata a quattro no. 3
Franz Anton Hoffmeister Solo Quartet no. 4: III. ‘Andante’
Gioachino Rossini Sonata a quattro no. 6: III. ‘Tempesta’
The string quartet now has an established form; however, composers have certainly experimented with other instrumental combinations. Both Rossini and Hoffmeister included the double bass in their quartets. Rossini opted for two violins, cello and double bass; Hoffmeister for violin, viola, cello and double bass.
Rossini’s sonatas radiate the same pure delight that permeates the quartets of Mozart and Haydn. These works of great clarity and beauty leave us with a sense of regret that Rossini did not compose any ‘real’ string quartet repertoire. Certainly, he exploited the added weight of the double bass in an ingenious and elegant way.
Hoffmeister gives the double bass a completely different role in his solo quartets. Rather than just accompanying, here the bass plays a fully fledged melodic line with virtuosic passages.