David Heyes discusses the genesis of the Prima Facie CD (PFCD80) Typically Teppo, a celebration of the music of Teppo Hauta-aho:
“Typically Teppo is a truly international project, bringing together performers from four countries and composers from six to celebrate the music of the legendary Finnish bassist-composer Teppo Hauta-aho. Teppo and I have been friends for 20 years and have a shared bond of both being students of the great Czech double bass virtuoso František Pošta (1919-1991) – Teppo studied in Prague in the 1960s and I studied there in the 1980s. Teppo has the distinction of being the most prolific double bass composer in the history of the instrument and has produced a unique body of work for bassists of all ages and abilities. In May 2016 I organised Teppo-Fest in Somerset to celebrate his 75th birthday, having held similar events for his 65th and 70th birthdays. A weekend of concerts and workshops brought bassists and audiences together to enjoy Teppo’s music, alongside music by many other living composers, and was the catalyst for this CD. I had the idea of commissioning 75 one-minute works for unaccompanied double bass, to celebrate Teppo’s 75th birthday, and was absolutely amazed at the international response. We didn’t quite reach the target but the 56 completed pieces by composers from 15 countries included many fine works of quality, breadth and imagination. All were performed during Teppo-Fest 2016; half of them have been published by Recital Music, and some are recorded on this CD.
Steve Plews (Prima Facie) suggested to Dan Styffe and I that a new CD featuring Teppo Hauta-aho’s music would be of interest to his recording company, having heard our passion and enthusiasm for Teppo’s music previously. The venues, recording dates and performers were confirmed, which took some months to coordinate but was well worth the effort, and the recording sessions and rehearsals were filled with laughter and good humour, alongside serious music making and playing wonderful compositions from supremely talented and successful composers. The choice of repertoire was influenced by the music composed for Teppo-Fest and my idea of featuring Teppo’s music alongside works composed for his 75th birthday celebrations was enthusiastically agreed by Dan and Steve. The juxtaposition of different styles and idioms, all by living composers, creates a unique recorded document of Teppo’s music and that of his many friends and supporters across the world.
Typically Teppo is a recording project featuring wonderful music and international friendships; a celebration of the 21st century double bass and its new repertoire alongside the influence of Teppo Hauta-aho on bassists and composers everywhere. His beautifully idiomatic, evocative and inspirational music, allied to a unique and fun personality, have connected with performers and audiences for more than five decades, with the last few years witnessing an exponential increase in performances and recordings. Typically Teppo brings together five musicians, six composers and a UK-based record company to celebrate the genius and influence of Teppo Hauta-aho. His music has a confirmed place in the international repertoire of the double bass and his contribution as an international double bass ambassador is incalculable.
David Heyes (August 2017 / Somerset)”