To demonstrate the range of his repertoire, Norwegian double bassist Dan Styffe has put together an appealing program of contemporary works that are as varied in sonority as they are daring in technique. Styffe promotes a warm singing style in his playing, which is heard to best advantage in the solo works. Astor Piazzolla's Tango Etude No. 4, Giacinto Scelsi's Maknongan, and Teppo Hauta-Aho's Pieni Bassofantasia afford Styffe sufficient room to stretch, and the resonance of the bass' lowest tones support the expressive lines on the upper strings. Styffe shares the stage with flutist Anne Hveding in John Persen's serious DuO, and in ...wither wander you..., Gisle Kverndokk's virtuosic duo concertante. This unusual pairing sounds greater than the sum of its parts, for the flute and bass are tightly integrated in both pieces and produce extraordinary timbral combinations in their frequent crossings. The most bracing work is Iannis Xenakis' microtonal duet Roscobeck. Cellist Østein Birkeland joins Styffe in the production of raw, multi-stopped chords that strain the instruments to their limits. Paul Ramsier's Eusebius Revisited is a more conventional work, and Styffe is ably accompanied by pianist Gonzalo Moreno in this clever adaptation of Robert Schumann's music. The recording is excellent, with natural presence and ambience.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Études tanguistiques (6), for flute solo|
|Eusebius Revisited (Remembrances of Schumann), paraphrase for double bass, strings & piano (or only piano)|