Lars Danielsson: Symphonized

Swedish bassist adds another chapter to the jazz meets classical story by blending his quartet with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra


Not all musicians sit comfortably across different genres. Lars Danielsson proves that he can work well in the dangerous area of classical and jazz crossovers with this fine double album.

Danielsson’s musical influences are wide-ranging, from his first music teacher who was a church organist, through Swedish folk music, Bach, playing in orchestras, discovering rock, new wave and then moving firmly towards jazz. As Danielsson neatly sums it up: “A lot of different influences have found their way into my music.”

Symphonized is a highly accessible selection of classical sounding compositions, driven by melodic content rather than experimentation for the sake of it. The release notes refer to the cinematic appeal of the music, namechecking composers and arrangers such as Claus Ogermann, Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone.

There is certainly a big-sounding, big-picture sensibility to the music, aided by the lush, fulsome sound of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Underneath some of the sweet melodies lurks something a little bit darker and introspective at times, and in places you can almost detect some English melancholy very much like that to be found in some of the later works of Elgar.

The name of the group Danielsson works with to create this music is well chosen, with Liberetto combining elements of classical composition and structure with the freedom that comes from improvisation.

This ambitious, engaging two-disc set comes to a fine finish with the soaring Scherzo to conclude Danielsson’s double concerto. It’s dramatic, urgent, swinging and reflective all at once, showcasing some very fine playing from Danielsson himself, Gregory Privat on blistering form on piano and Paolo Fresu on trumpet. Magnificent.

CD1: [Liberetto Symphonized] Liberetto; Passacaglia; Africa; Sacred Mind; Lviv; Nikita’s Dream; The Fifth Grade; Yes To You (45.36)
CD2: [Double Concerto for English Horn, Oboe D’Amore, Contrabass, Cello and Orchestra] I Affettuoso; II Elegi; Intermedium, III Le Bagatelle; IV Scherzo (39.00)
Danielsson (contrabass, clo); Gregory Privat (p); Magnus Ostrom (d, pc); John Parricelli (g); Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with Peter Nordahl (cond); Carolina Grinne (English horn, oboe d’amore); Arve Henriksen, Paolo Fresu (t). Gothenburg Concert Hall, no date given.
ACT 6023-2