Dan Styffe (double bass), Peter Herresthal (violin), Oslo PO/Jukka-Pekka SarasteSimax Classics PSC 1324 ***
If Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals has left you with the idea that a solo double bass is best suited to caricaturing an elephant, leading Norwegian bassist Dan Styffe is just the man to change your mind. The major work here, Rolf Martinsson’s Concerto No 1, depends too heavily on Hollywood orchestral kitsch.
A sequence of shorter works by Lera Auerbach, Teppo Hauta-Aho, György Kurtág, Olav Anton Thommessen, Giacinto Scelsi, Per Nørgård and Bernard Salles (including some with violin) traverse a considerable gamut.
The real gem is Nørgård’s Secret Voices, originally for solo viola, but here heard in a violin and bass arrangement by Jakob Kullberg. The two instruments merge and morph in fascinating shadow games.