Hval is in two sections, both of which juxtapose open strings and stopped tones with natural harmonics. The player's task is to find a sound and feel which mediates between them, so that the contrasting timbres always feel organic. Similarly, while the two sections of the piece are very different in character, the player must strive to project a connection between them, two aspects of a single personality.
Hval was written for the 2007 International Society of Bassists (ISB) Soloists Competition, Oklahoma City. It is dedicated to Robert Black. "Hval" is Icelandic for 'whale.'