Album review: Stefano Scodanibbio, Reinventions (ECM New Series)


Besides being the most inventive of double bassists, the late Stefano Scodanibbio was a sound-sculptor of unmatched imagination, as demonstrated in this radical programme of string quartet arrangements of Bach, Spanish guitar music and Mexican popular songs, performed with quicksilver grace by Quartetto Prometeo.

Scodanibbio's methods involve displacing some harmonics an octave higher, and slowing tempos drastically, refracting the pieces as if underwater. The three Bach “Contrapunctus” from The Art of Fugue are distilled into chilled, skeletal forms, ice-sculptures of slow but glistening sonorities. The more populist “Canzoniere Messicano”, while sharing the glacial harmonic shifts, have a lusher, more indulgent flavour.

Download: Contrapunctus I, V, IV; Bésame Mucho; Lágrima; El Testament d'Amelia