Norman Hester: The Bull Steps Out (Double Bass & Piano)
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Ideal for a popular school or informal concert.
Programme note by Rodney Slatford, 2008:
Jack Snow Hester was born on 2 March 1907 in Chorlton, Lancashire, and joined the music profession as a double bass player when he was seventeen. His father Arthur Darrell Hester appears on his birth certificate as 'Manufacturer (chemicals)'; his mother was Minnie Frances Hester, formerly Stamp, and the family lived in South Manchester. During the 1930s, as Norman Hester, he worked at Daly's Theatre, the Piccadilly Theatre, the Palace Theatre and other London variety houses in West End productions. He married Isabella Dawson Davidson on 1 July 1940 in Worcester and she died in 1973. He died in 2001 after a long period of ill health.
During the 1960s Norman was an active freelance player, working as an extra bass player with the London symphony orchestras, including the BBC. Quite when The Bull Steps Out was written isn't certain, but Norman sent me a copy to consider for republishing – it is assumed that the original publication appeared sometime during, or just after the war. It was a 'one off' that he probably played for light music evenings in the theatres.
The piece has been very popular and has been used for examinations on various syllabuses around Grade 7 level.
An unpublished manuscript copy of a double bass 'method' is on file that Norman Hester wrote when he retired, but it is mainly a compilation of various scales and exercises similar to many that were published in the early 20th century. A photograph of him as a young man is held at the Royal Society of Musicians in London, which he joined in 1930 and of which he was a loyal supporter until he died.