Franz Keyper

Relatively little is known about double bassist and composer Franz Keyper (c. 1756-1815). It seems he was born in Neurode, County Glatz, Silesia (now Poland), probably in 1756 although his date of birth is unknown.

Having received his musical education at a monastery in Poland, he spent some time in the service of a Polish nobleman. He left this post to work as a touring musician, arriving in Copenhagen in 1788. He eventually settled there to work in the court orchestra.

Among the works he wrote for double bass are seven concertos that are characterised by a unique virtuosity and a command of the classical idiom and structure that develops with each concerto. Keyper, unusually for the classical period, had an advanced understanding of the geography of an instrument tuned in fourths and he makes particularly imaginative use of harmonics.

I Musicanti Publishing is now making these works available to modern players in editions prepared by Leon Bosch.

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