Document Type

Media Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

Bass World






The Dark Side of the Bass features stunning performances by Italian double bassist Francesco Fraioli with Francesco Buccarella on piano. The CD includes three sonatas for double bass and piano by the composers Vilmos Montag, Hans-Peter Linde and Paul Hindemith. On the first track, the first movement (Allegro moderato) of the Sonata by Vilmos Montag, Fraioli establishes his wide range of dynamic expression and depth of lyricism. Clearly, he is very influenced by one of his teachers, Francesco Petracchi. The entire work demands a legato tone that must be maintained over the wide register and over string crossings. Fraioli's agile shifting and string crossing technique allows him to maintain the dramatic and intense lyricism that the score demands. Aided by the recording engineer's decision to utilize a close mic, he is able to clearly articulate every note of the rapid gestures while sustaining his lyricism throughout. However, it was very surprising to hear him occasionally negate his best qualities by opting to perform some of the spiccato passages very off-the-string. Fraioli's pizzicato tone is supportive, deep, very sustained, rich in overtones, and most importantly, dark in timbre. This is especially true at the end of the first movement. Perhaps his dark, rich timbre is what inspired the title of the CD. Despite the close mic, which favors clarity of fundamental frequencies and transients of the envelope more than the overtones of the bass, I'm even more impressed at how Fraioli was able to achieve such dark timbres under these circumstances.


© 2009 Jeremy C. Baguyos