Baines, Francis: Grounds (Double Bass Solo)
Grounds was written in 1969 as a sort of party piece and was given to Yorke Edition in support of a drive to enlarge the repertoire for the instrument in a wide variety of styles. It was set on the syllabus of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music for many years.
Born in Oxford in 1917, Francis Baines was a well-known and much respected professional double bass player. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Claude Hobday, where he later taught. Something of an eccentric, he immersed himself in early music at a time when few people were taking it seriously. He owned a beautiful Amati bass that he had restored as a violone, which it probably was originally, and he was a regular fixture as a principal player in a number of orchestras and ensembles that dedicated themselves to period performing, including those directed by Denys Darlow, with whom he broadcast and recorded frequently.
Besides playing the double bass, Francis Baines was an exponent of the treble viol and led the Jaye Consort of Viols which he founded. He also played several kinds of bagpipe and the hurdy-gurdy. As a composer he dabbled in many styles, one of his greatest claims to fame being that of writing for the popular Hoffnung concerts in the 1960s.
He was the author of a number of papers about the history of the double bass, sometimes arriving at scholarly conclusions that were colourful, if not always entirely accurate. He discovered the Giovannino del Violone sonatas, subsequently published by Yorke Edition, although today it is thought that they were probably not written for a 16′ pitch instrument at all. His edition of the Capuzzi double bass concerto, published by Boosey & Hawkes, was for many years one of the few solo works available for the instrument. This, however, he largely re-composed because he thought it could be improved: towards the end of his life he confessed that with hindsight he probably should have treated it differently. Francis Baines died in April 1999.