By extending the range of what’s possible on an instrument, one increases freedom while decreasing complacency, thus making possible a fresh approach to more traditional repertoire. That’s exactly what the four Danish composers represented on this disc of new music for classical guitar accomplish, de‑emphasising standard playing techniques in favour of the novel and the unorthodox – though always with the same object in view: capturing the heart and mind of the listener.
While the delicate textures of Bent Sørensen’s Melancholy Dances (2008) might lull the listener into a false sense of security, the writing is for the most part rich and complex, while techniques such as vocalisation and altering the pitch with the tuning pegs in real time point ahead to the extremes of Simon Steen Andersen’s in-side-out-side-in… (2001), perhaps the most intellectually and emotionally satisfying work on the disc, and Jeppe Just Christensen’s Ground, Vol 8 (2008), which makes extensive and often violent use of a slide. Vocalisation of a sort is also present in Niels Rønsholt’s WIR I (2005) for solo guitar and recorded soundtrack, audible breathing being just one component in a curiously subtle work that explores intimacy and contradiction.
Larsen proves a most capable advocate for these works, his fluency and enthusiasm such that rigour and spontaneity crackle through every bar. As a result, any questions of inaccessibility are easily brushed aside; rather, one is left with the aural faculties feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the aforementioned traditional repertoire, whether as listener or performer, both heart and mind filled with new possibilities.