nosagcd 113 - BJÖRN MALMQVIST -

The double-bass has a fantastic potential as a solo instrument with its enormous range, its very special colour palette, its harmonics, its pizzicato possibilities and last but not least, its singing qualities. Many contemporary composers have realized this, and through the last decades there has been a great deal of music composed for the double-bass. The influences of great instrumentalists like Gary Karr, Franco Petracchi, Edgar Meyer, and many others can not be overestimated.

A little bit of this music is presented on this CD. It is all what we call "contemporary" –Henze’s "Serenade" from 1949 being the oldest and Christensen´s "Le Chemin de Diamant" being the newest, composed in 1996. The music is all written for double-bass solo, except for the Christensen piece, which is a duet with the cello. One instrument but many moods and characters. We call the CD "Baltic Bass" because the music all comes from countries around the Baltic Sea.

Here you here the great soloist Björn Malmqvist, the principal of the bass section in the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON).

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Henze: from Serenade

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DN: "The Double Bass aligns with the unusualities on the solo horizont, but the broad register of the instrument is breathing life experience. On the album Björn Malmqvist performs pieces for Double Bass by six composers, mostly from the Baltic region. This is music cleaned to the bone, fascinatingly expressive in relations to its means."

NT: "It is sounding manly and cocky, racy and airy. The double bass on this album bursts all frames and ingrained opinions about the instrument being the slave of the collective - the double bass stands on its own leg. All composers with a wish to steer the listener into fairways of new explorations. "

Bass Player: "This CD with a striking cover (Malmqvist playing a very red bass on a barren outcrop a few feet at most from deep blue waves crashing on the rocky Baltic coast) is an outstanding debut by Malmqvist. The playing throughout is exceptionally accurate and musical and the recording clear and highly detailed. "

Double Bassist: "Malmqvist´s performances of the third version of Hauta-Aho´s Kadenza and Vasks´s Sonata hit one between the eyes. He carries off these works´ expressive effects and technical challenges with apparent ease and with scarcely any casualty to accuracy or tone quality (---) there is scarcely a weak link in this enjoyable compliation, which provides admirable confirmation of Malmqvist´s versatility, invention, technical command and consummate artistry. "


  Teppo Hauta-Aho (*1941) Kadenza 5´55
  Hans Werner Henze (*1926) Serenade 8´01
  Hans Eklund (1927-1999) Elegia per contrabasso solo 7´33
  Mogens Christensen (*1955) Le Chemin de Diamant 8´35
  Lars-Åke Franke-Blom (*1941) Espressione Intima 8´42
  Peteris Vasks (*1946) Sonata 17´05
    total: 55´58

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