Recommendations, Articles, Critics


Articles, Critics


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I follow the double bass player Norbert Duka’s activity for a long time. Mr Duka beside his orchestral work has been always committed
to chamber music and to solo playing. He has performed in many recordings and in the radio as well. I believe that he is the highest qualified person for the title ’Chambervirtuos’ that’s why I propose him emphatically.

Jesus Lopez Cobos


Certified Translation
Translation from the Russian

Dear Madam, dear Sir,
I know Norbert Duka as an excellent musician. His repertoire is very versatile. Both his solo performances and his chamber music play are characterized by excellent taste, a sense of style, a complete mastery of the instrument and genuine musicality.
I am pleased to be able to recommend Norbert Duka as a university professor. I am convinced that his presence at the musical school will bring about remarkable results.
Sincerely yours,

Natalia Gutman


I know Norbert Duka as an eminent double bass player in the State Opera Berlin, and he works hardly to have a new sonority in his section but first of all he works hard in solo playing very successfully.

On his instrument he knows all the tricks, ’magic’ feats, and he advance the the double bass to be equal with all the other solo instruments in virtuosity and even in the wide range of expressions.

I wish all my best to all the institutes and universities which have Norbert Duka as a teacher.

Dietrich Fischer Dieskau


Concert critics, CD critics

Concert critics

Der Tagesspiegel          

Schubert’s Trout in the ’ Schlosskapelle Bevern’

Opening concert with the Bottesini Quartet and Ewa Kwiecien (piano).

The season 1987/87 in Schlosskapelle Bevern started with a chamber music concert in the 17th of October 8pm, with Schubert’t Trout quintet which is an essentially light music. The performers were the famous Bottesini Quartet and the Polish born Ewa Kwiecien.

In the beginning of the concert were two not really known piece were performed: Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s (1778-1837) Op. 74 d minor quintet for violins, viola, cello and double bass which originally was the Op. 114 septet but the composer did the transcription himself for quintet. Hummel was a German romantic composer who studied with Mozart and lived in Weimar as a piano player and composer.

The second piece in the concert was Franz Anton Hoffmeister’s (1754-1812) No.2 D major quartet which demands really high level double bass playing. Norbert Duka the Bottesini Quartet’s bass player is prepared for these demands, not long ago he just edited his solo album where he plays three of the Hoffmeister quartets, with this beautiful and delightful performance he made a stir.

The highest point in the evening came after the break: Schubert’s Op. 114 or as known as the Trout. He composed this piece in 1819 which is the symbol of the flowing zest for life. This cheerful and light music reminds all of us of the Spring. Schubert offered this piece to his friend Sylvester Baumgartner.

The aim of the Bottesini Quartet is to attend the double bass literature, all the members are players from the Berlin Opera: Ewa Kwiecien piano, Norbert Duka double bass, Michael Hussler cello, Claude Lelong viola and Thomas Thomaszewski violin.


CD Critics

The Double Bassists

Schubert ’arpeggione’ Sonata, plus Rachmaninov,
van Goens, Koussevitzky, Bartok, Gliere

Norbert Duka (db) Phillip Moll (pf), Toshi Kamiya (pf)

Maurus [90905]

This disc is a compilation of recordings made for three (German radio stations. It features somewhat cautious 'studio per-formances which, though competent and admirable in many ways, rarely come fully to life. Gliere' s Scherzo op.32 no,2 and Tarantella op.9 no.2 are eases in point, while Rachmaninov's Vocalise op.34 no. ] 4 - characterised by fluent movement and fast, light bow strokes, creating a pleasant tone, but one lacking in intensity.
The highest voltage comes in Duka's arrangement of van Goens Scherzo no.2 op. 12. its waspish moto perpetuo outer sections contrasting sharply with its beautifully shaped central paragraph. Nevertheless, Dukas tempi seem laboured and there are occasional blem­ishes in some of the more challenging passagework. Duka finds just the right mood and expression in Kousscvitsky's Chanson) Triste, and he interprets the free parlando passages and peasant dance character of Bartok's Ein Abend  aufdem Lande with subtlety and style. The account of the 'Arpeggione Sonata is uneven. Duka' s poise, sensitive phrasing and wide range of expression are generally impressive throughout, particularly in the Adagio, but various intonation blemishes, smudged notes and a loss of momentum in the first move­ment's development combine to relegate his performance to one of second rank.


The Strad

Hoffmeister: Double Bass Quartetts
Norbert Duka (double bass)
Ernő Sebestyen (violin)
Helmut Nikolai (viola)
Martin Ostertag (cello)
Koch Schwann 3-6727-2

On the evidence presented here there is scarcely anything of intrinsic value in the music of this business­man-composer. However, I do not wish to imply that the Hungarian-born bass player Norbert Duka does not turn in . some remarkably authentic and stylish chamber music performing - an especially striking achievement as he passes much of his time in the pit of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin.
Admittedly, there are patent deficien­cies in the first movement of the Second Quartet, a late-18th-century petit rien which sets the tone for the whole disc. Here, high passagework is not always as secure as the venture requires and the supporting trio sounds more than a little metallic at forte. Things get better and
better, however, and the general avoidance of showy, quasi-comic vehemence is a great point in Duka's favour. By the closing Rondo his credentials as a soloist brilliantly able to integrate his part are manifest.
The Third Quartet, another nondescript exercise in routine Classical mannerisms, is full of material which reveals Duka's extraor­dinary flexibility of articulation, and the featherweight triplets in the Tempo di Minuetto are also noteworthy. Exemplary G-string decorative work and an effortless legato characterise the second movement of the Fourth Quartet and the delicate flourishes and runs of the Rondo are no less impressive; yet how one longs for music to test Duka's artistry on other, more crucial, levels.

Jeffrey Joseph


The Strad

Norbert Duka (double bass) Phillip Moll, Toshi Kamiya (piano)
Marus 909051 ADD

For centuries, the solo double bass has been relegated to 'Tubby the Tuba' status, donning the robes of a cumbersome instrument fated to neglect by major composers. Occasionally a virtuoso such as Bottesini astonished audiences with
the bass's tremendous expressive potential, adopting operatic styles to effect a captivating singing tone in the higher registers. And this is exactly the quality that informs Duka's play­ing. He transcends the instrument's tessitural limitation, producing a won­derfully lyrical style. Works such as Rachmaninov's Vocalise are actually-enhanced in this version, because he adds colour to the repeated sections by altering the range. The difficulty is to create a feeling of agility on the bass - and it needs a really skilled musician to achieve this. Duka's virtu­osity in his arrangement of Daniel van Goens's Scherzo no.2 and Gliere's Tarantella op.9 is exceptional. There are, however, some less successful transcriptions, such as Schubert s 'Arpeggione' Sonata. Whilst the arrangement works in that it encom­passes the range, I feel that the timbre is too unfocused and fuzzy-sounding for the melancholic character of the instrument. Nevertheless, for those who are still unconvinced of the bass' s potential as a solo instrument, this CD should banish such doubts.

Joanne Talbot