Much of the solo literature for double bass requires the instrument to change its tuning from its standard orchestral arrangement, raising the pitch of each string by a whole step (if not more) in an attempt to increase its clarity, projection, nimbleness. This Neos album, Music for Double Bass with German bassist Frank Reinecke, steers away from works that employ scordatura in favor of those that use the typical orchestral tuning on the bass. The idea: to focus on and explore the depth and resonance for which the instrument was constructed. The opening work on the program -- Giacinto Scelsi's Nuits -- is the only work on the program that alters the bass' tuning by tuning three of its four strings to an F in the final movement, producing a noticeably unusual effect. The rest of the program, while certainly visiting the higher realms of the bass' long fingerboard, spends a great deal of time in the lower registers. Given a powerful sound system and speakers that can really handle low frequencies, listeners will enjoy a wash of dark, encompassing sound from Reinecke's instrument. The pieces on his program incorporate a variety of extended techniques, microtonal scales, and even spoken word to add spice and intrigue. The appeal of the literature itself is subject to listener preference. Some works, like Isang Yun's Für Aki I & II are somewhat trite contributions that sound as if they could come from an early student etude book. On the other end of the spectrum, the wildly complex and lengthy Theraps by Iannis Xenakis tests listeners' resolve and attention. For his own part, Reinecke puts forth an admirable performance and convinces us that the bass need not alter its true nature to be a successful solo instrument.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell