Dan Styffe's new album Postcards from Oslo: Music for Double Bass comprises premiere recordings which were all written for, dedicated to, or transcribed for Styffe by composers such as Sadie Harrison, Bernard Sallés and Simón García. This collection of new and existing compositions for solo double bass is the second CD in a series of recordings featuring the instrument. The first, 'Postcards from Prague' (PFCD049), featured David Heyes.
The project was energised by Prima Facie producer Steve Plews:
'I first met Dan Styffe in 2005 when we recorded a concerto for two double basses by Kevin Malone (my friend David Heyes was the other bassist). I stayed in touch with Dan and composed a couple of pieces for him. I had always admired his sound. I like the way that as a classical bassist he has a very musical feel, more like that of a jazz musician, so that, whilst he has an impeccable sense of time, the sound he projects doesn't feel as rigid as some players. We decided to put a collection of new compositions together by composers from around the world who had an interest in solo bass. The composers featured are Simon Garcia, John Alexander, Teppo Hauta-aho, Sadie Harrison, Terje Viken, Marcus Paus, Bernard Salles and the baroque composer Marin Marais; there is also one of my pieces, 'Coltrane'.'
As a showcase for solo double bass, this CD offers a fascinating glimpse of stylistic diversity from composers in Spain, England, Finland, Norway, Sweden and France. Inspiration for these pieces ranges from the Swedish rock carvings that captivated Sadie Harrison in Hällristningsområdet to an architect's view of 'the miraculous potential of the human hand' that inspired John Alexander's The Intelligent Hand. The disc offers music as contrasting as 'free musical graffiti' in the 5 Pieces by Terje Viken to the 'intense Charles Mingus groove' of Coltrane by Steve Plews and Valseth's transcription of the refreshingly modern-soundingLes Voix Humaines (Pieces de Viole) Livre II no 63 by Marin Marais (1656-1728).
Born in Sweden, Dan Styffe is Co-Principal in The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and also Professor of double bass at The Norwegian Academy of Music and at Barratt Due ´s Institute of Music, Oslo. He has a successful career as soloist / chamber musician and this is his 7th solo CD. He appears regularly at international festivals and conventions and often serves on juries at international solo competitions. He plays a Gasparo da Saló bass owned by the foundation Dextra Musica/Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.