Double bassist Steve Metcalf plays Giovanni Bottesini's Elegy No. 1 in the CPR Performance Studio on March 6, 2018.

Where would double bassists be without Giovanni Bottesini?

When an orchestra features a concerto for a stringed instrument  a violinist or cellist usually gets the attention. Once in a while it's a violist. But a double bassist rarely gets to step forward and enjoy the spotlight as a soloist. 

On the rare occasion it does happen, the lucky bassist often plays music by Bottesini.

Giovanni Bottesini with his trusty double bass, circa 1865. 

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Admirers call him "the Paganini of the double bass." He became famous in 19th century Italy as a conductor and composer as well as a virtuosic double bassist. 

His output was broad -- he wrote operas, sacred pieces and symphonic works -- but his main focus as a composer was his beloved instrument. Bottesini penned dozens of pieces for the instrument, including concertos, duets and chamber music. The gorgeous Elegy No. 1 featured here falls into the latter category.

Steve Metcalf, the new principal bass of the Colorado Symphony, treated us to the piece recently in the CPR Performance Studio. Watch how he makes Bottesini's melodies sing, especially as he wanders up the fingerboard of his bass. 

Metcalf also shows off his music chops in a unique series of cover songs on his own YouTube channel. Watch his dazzling, multilayered cover of the Lorde song "Royals:" 

Or, if you want more Bottesini, watch Metcalf and friends play the composer's "Passione Amorosa" in concert.

More exclusive music from the CPR Performance Studio: