The double bass plays a key role in any orchestra, but is not necessarily an obvious choice as a solo instrument. There is nevertheless an extensive – and growing – repertoire of works centred on the instrument, making the most of its low register and distinctive timbre.

20th century American double bass pedagogue Stuart Sankey dedicated his career to expanding the instrument’s repertoire, and his Carmen Fantasy, inspired by Bizet’s famous opera, will be the centrepiece of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert.

Appropriately, the solo role will be taken up by a performer who has followed in the footsteps of Sankey and his peers by writing many transcriptions of classical works for the double bass: the MPO’s principal double bass player, Gjorgji Cincievski.

The concert, directed by the MPO’s resident conductor Michael Laus, also features a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye. While eclipsed in popularity by a number of the composer’s other symphonies, Beethoven himself deemed it to be one of his best works, and its second movement is nevertheless well known and often performed on its own.

Ma Mère l’Oye, inspired by the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, was originally written as a piano duet for the young children of the Godebskis, a Polish family living in Paris who Ravel counted among his closest friends.

This concert is supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation.