Double bassist Jacob Warren presents a video performance of Debussy’s Cello Sonata with pianist John Solari. Warren won first prize at the 2023 International Society of Bassists (ISB) Solo Competition and the work featured as a cornerstone of his recital programme.

Rather than performing the transcription with C minor fingerings on solo tuning, Warren opts to perform the sonata with his own transcription, which sees the work performed in its original key of D minor in standard double bass tuning with a low D, in an aim to capture the gestures and colours of the original.

’The Debussy Sonata is a common piece in cellists’ repertoire, so finding a pianist who knows the work already is fairly easy, and it’s made even easier by the fact that on a standard tuned double bass, this transcription is in the original key of D minor,’ Warren says.

’Working through this piece, it was my goal to interpret as faithfully as possible the gestures and effects that it seems Debussy intended,’ he elaborates.

’In the double bass part, I had to alter a few chord voicings, and do an occasional octave jump to make the part playable and musical, however, this was always done with the overall effect of the moment in mind. When I needed to make a change from the original, I noted this in boxed text above each measure that was altered.’

Warren has transcriptions of the sonata in both orchestral and solo tunings. Additionally, he has developed and included helpful bowings and fingerings intended as starting points for the player, and invites performers to explore other options to suit their needs. He has included Debussy’s original bowings, and given suggestions where to break ties to better suit shorter double bass bows.

Find the transcription on here.

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