Giovanni Bottesini

Biography

Born: December 22, 1821; Crema, Italy   Died: July 7, 1889; Parma, Italy  
Giovanni Bottesini was one of the foremost virtuoso double bass players in history and a major contributor to the development of the technique of that instrument. His compositions are also the foundation of the rather small repertoire for that instrument.

His father, Pietro, was a clarinetist and minor composer, and the boy learned the basics of music from him. He sang in local choirs and played timpani in the opera theater orchestra. He
Read more studied violin with Carlo Cogliati, a leading violinist in town.

On learning that there were two scholarships at the Milan Conservatory, one for a bassoon student and the other for a bass player, Giovanni applied himself to learning the later instrument. By mid-summer he had mastered it will enough to earn the scholarship. He studied bass with Luigi Rossi, and also took harmony, counterpoint, and composition, from 1835 to 1839. When he graduated he won a prize equivalent to 300 francs for his playing. With some of it he bought a Giuseppe Testore bass, a rather small instrument that was designed for chamber playing. Legend has it that he found it in a puppet theater lying under a pile of trash. He used only three strings, tuned higher than normal, and adopted the French-style bow. With this bass, he had a successful debut at the Teatro Comunale in Crema in 1840. This led to several engagements in Italy. He also was principal bass of the Teatro San Benedetto of Venice. When the theater produced Verdi's I due Foscari, he became a close friend of the great opera composer.

Bottesini also began composing. With his friend Luigi Arditi, he went to Havana, Cuba, where he was the principal bass player of the Teatro Tacón there. While he was there, it premiered his opera Cristoforo Colombo. From there he went to the United States through New Orleans and made a sensation touring through the country to New York. He was such a celebrity that a jeweler became rich off of a pin designed in Bottesini's likeness. When he traveled to England in 1849, he successfully toured and made a major hit in London, where he played both the bass and the cello in different works. He was nicknamed the "Paganini of the double bass." He continued to tour widely, as far as St Petersburg and Mexico City.

With the assistance of Verdi, he also began acquiring jobs as a conductor (he conducted the world premiere of Verdi's Aida in Cairo, at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1871) and was able to spend more of his time in composition and conducting. His operas were quite well received, and he wrote popular pieces of chamber music. Aside from his double bass works, his compositions are rarely heard now.

Bottesini died shortly after being nominated director of the Parma Conservatory. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 53 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Simply The Best Classical Anthems
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 550583 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Carl Orff,  Gustav Holst,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Lombard,  Zubin Mehta,  Southend Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard,  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 2.
    Bottesini: Duetto; Capriccio; Gran Quintetto
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10867 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Elda Laro,  Alessandro Dorella,  Davide Botto,  Davide Ghio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Teatro Regio di Torino Quintetto c'archi
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  • 3.
    Meyer, Bottesini: Concertos / Edgar Meyer, Bell, Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56148 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Edgar Meyer
    Performer:  Edgar Meyer,  Joshua Bell,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Illuminated Bass
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72604 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Paul Hindemith,  Robert Schumann,  Giovanni Bottesini  ... 
    Performer:  Olivier Thierry,  Sophie Labandibar
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  • 5.
    Bottesini's Greatest Hits / Mark Morton
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1411/12 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Mark Morton
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  • 6.
    Bottesini: Messa Da Requiem / Martin, London Philharmonic, Joyful Company Of Singers
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572994 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Gemma Coma-Alabert,  Marta Mathéu,  Agustin Prunell-Friend,  Enric Martínez-Castignani
    Conductor:  Thomas Martin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Joyful Company of Singers
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  • 7.
    Bottesini: Capriccio Di Bravura / Stotijn, Thompson, Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 32612 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Rick Stotijn,  Christianne Stotijn,  Hans Eijsackers,  Liza Ferschtman  ... 
    Conductor:  Candida Thompson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Sinfonietta
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    SuperAudio CD: $21.99
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  • 8.
    Bottesini: Contrabass Sonatas / Sciascia, Lorenzi
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802105 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Stefano Sciascia,  David Giovanni Leonardi
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  • 9.
    Bottesini: Ero & Leandro / Mercier, Pasolini, Scandiuzzi, Ariofarne, Salvagno
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 670 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Gianluca Pasolini,  Veronique Mercier,  Roberto Scandiuzzi
    Conductor:  Aldo Salvagno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Piemonte Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $27.49
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  • 10.
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 8020 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Ovidiu Badila,  Keng Yuen Tseng
    Conductor:  Marco Zuccarini
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  • 11.
    Giovanni Bottesini: Duets
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33865 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Enrico Fagone,  Corrado Giuffredi,  Walter Zagato
    Conductor:  Christoph Mueller
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  • 12.
    Giovanni Bottesini: Tre Grandi Duetti
    Label: Zuk Records   Catalog: 329 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Johannes [Double Bass] Stahle,  Boguslaw Furtok
    On sale! $24.98
    CD: $19.99
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  • 13.
    Bottesini: Ero & Leandro /  Mercier, Pasolini, Scandiuzzi, Ariofarne, Salvagno
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 33670 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Roberto Scandiuzzi,  Veronique Mercier,  Gianluca Pasolini
    Conductor:  Aldo Salvagno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Piemonte Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $32.49
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  • 14.
    Arturo Toscanini E I Maestri Di Parma: Liriche Per Canto E Pianoforte
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 820001 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Giusto Dacci,  Gustavo Campanini,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    Performer:  Raffaele Cortesi,  Dzenana Mustafic,  Simona Cianchi,  Raphaele Cortesi  ... 
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  • 15.
    Bottesini: Three String Quartets / Quartetto Elisa
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 8012 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Elisa
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  • 16.
    The Creators Of Verismo Vol. 1: Bellincioni, Pandolfini, And The Siberia Creator-recordings
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52062 Release Date: 10/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Arrigo Boito,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Gemma Belliconi,  Salvatore Cottone,  Angelica Pandolfini,  Amelia Pinto  ... 
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  • 17.
    Bottesini: Virtuoso Double Bass, Vol. 2
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84587 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Sung-Suk Kang,  Leon Enrique Bosch
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  • 18.
    Bottesini: Fantasia On Themes Of Rossini, Passione Amorose / Martin, Cobb, Oldfather
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572284 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Thomas [Double Bass] Martin,  Timothy Cobb,  Christopher Oldfather
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  • 19.
    Bottesini: Virtuoso Works For Double Bass & Strings
    Label: Nuova Era   Catalog: 232911 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Massimo Giorgi,  Diego Conti,  Vincenzo Mariozzi
    Conductor:  Vittorio Antonellini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Aquilani
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bottesini: Double Concertos For Strings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4683285 Release Date: 04/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giovanni Bottesini,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Erkki Rautio,  Marko Ylönen,  Laura Vihreapuu,  Tuomo Savolainen  ... 
    Conductor:  Csaba Szilvay,  Géza Szilvay
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    Giovanni Bottesini: Works For Double-bass & Piano
    Label: Concerto   Catalog: 2051 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Roberto Paruzzo,  Francesco Siragusa
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  • 22.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 23.
    Garden Scene / Quarrington, Burashko
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29931 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mieczyslaw Weinberg,  Reinhold Gliere,  Henri Casadesus,  Giovanni Bottesini  ... 
    Performer:  Joel Quarrington,  Andrew Burashko
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  • 24.
    Bottesini: Works For Doublebass & Piano / Siragusa, Paruzzo
    Label: Concerto   Catalog: 2004 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Roberto Paruzzo,  Francesco Siragusa
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  • 25.
    Phoenix In Flight / Stoltzman, Trevor, Slovak Rso
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5801 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Claude Debussy,  Giovanni Bottesini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman,  Richard Fredrickson
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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Giovanni Bottesini


MOST POPULAR WORKS
WORKS
I. Allegro agitato
II. Andante
III. Rondo: Allegretto
I. Andantino
II. Presto