Concerto in A for Double Bass

By Domenico Dragonetti

Born in Venice, Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846) was the pre-eminent double-bass virtuoso of his time. Early on, he displayed his remarkable musical gifts on the violin and guitar before turning to the double bass, at which he excelled.

Appointed to the orchestra at San Marco in Venice at the age of 18, he became famous and sought after as a performer in Italy, Russia and England. He took up residence in London in 1794 where, except for occasional trips, he resided for the rest of his life. He made the acquaintance of both Haydn and Beethoven, whom he favorably impressed with his playing.

In addition to his performing career, Dragonetti composed many works for the double-bass, with this concerto being among the best-known. It is a three-movement work in the classical style, and displays the full range of the double bass, with much of the work in the high register. There are pyrotechnics galore, including passages consisting entirely of harmonics, which indicate the technical brilliance of which Dragonetti was capable.