6 years ago

Volume 22 Issue 3 - November 2016

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  • November
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of Pictures is even more

of Pictures is even more animated as the saxophone unleashes just the proper amount of circular breathing. Circular breathing is just one of techniques exhibited by birthday boy Mats Gustafsson, on MG50 Peace & Fire at Porgy & Bess (Trost Records TR 140 In honour of his 50th the Swedish saxophonist mixed and matched 30 associates in various ensembles. Although the effect is somewhat like moving through a raucous, outdoor carnival into a near-soundproof laboratory and back out onto a noisy speedway, the tracks confirm the reedist’s breadth. Gustafsson sounds exactly like himself whether he plays alto, tenor, baritone, bass saxophones or self-invented flutophone and whether he’s lobbing power shards against the industrial-style drumming of Didi Kern on Peace or advancing hard pitches that are descriptive without being disruptive while embedded among the reeds, brass and strings of Klangforum Wien on Konstellation. A track such as Molting Slowly (without noticing), where his Fire trio of electric bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin is augmented with two vocalists, electric organ and bagpipes [!], sashays from bedlam-styled vocalizing and reed shrieks to Death Metal-like melodrama without letting the menacing theme overcome the supple voice and instrumental interaction. Similarly a meeting of his The Thing trio – bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love – with saxophonist Ken Vandermark on tracks like Unheard. I Yield may feature a saxophone faceoff with tones winding around one another like snakes in a mating ritual, but a final bass-led descent to an R&B-like pulse adds swing to the tough reed mass. Suspended within an electrified concerto with synthesizer player Thomas Lehn, drummer Paul Lovens and trombonist/cellist Günter Christmann, Gustafsson meshes thick reed tones with hissing synth vibrations as carefully as he uses singular puffs to connect with isolated drum strokes and string plinks. Plus, when his Swedish Azz quintet which include Dieb13’s turntables plus tuba, saxophone, vibe and drums gets going on a piece like Quincy processed samples and unexpected reed tongue flutters confirm the band’s contemporary bona fides even as the theme salutes Sweden’s mid-century modern jazz roots. Another variation on a similar theme is Tensegrity (NotTwo MW938-2 Here the 14 members of British bassist Barry Guy’s Blue Shroud Band, gathered in Krakow to perform the bassist’s orchestral Blue Shroud, were recorded in Small Formations. The set features 26 tracks where band members from 10 countries demonstrate their skills. Some improvisations are unexpected, as when four reed players stack up so many timbres that are alternately shrill, subterranean, harsh and gentle, that it appears critical mass is reached. Then they’re joined by serpent-player Michael Godard, whose hunting-horn-like subtly adds a further subterrestrial dimension. On one track, Bach specialist Maya Homburger reads her violin part, but backed by Guy’s four-square bass and the creative accents of percussionist Lucas Niggli the result is easy swing. Other assemblages are more customary. Guy’s mufti-directional arpeggios and percussionist Ramón López’s pacing draw out the best from saxophonist Julius Gabriel so that his flutters, reed kisses and slurps culminate in a set that salutes both the hushed improv of Mopomoso and Gustafsson-style Energy Music. Vocalist Savina Yannatou showcases her tonal sensitivity or creates a hubbub of sounds scatted and otherwise equal to the instrumentalists’ free playing. Overall the MVP is Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández. On his own he mixes highly technical carefully prepared string additions to create a kaleidoscopic solo that’s as percussively syncopated as it is breezy. On the set’s final track he joins Guy, López, trumpeter Peter Evans and Yannatou for a matchless half-hour improvisation. Sequences successively resemble a classic piano trio; a rhythmic safety net for Evans’ tongue gymnastics; and focused backing for the vocalist’s mumbles and speaking in tongues. Throughout, the pianist draws unexpected glissandi and inner-piano resonations like gold nuggets from a stream to both match and accompany the other soloists. Each box here has something to offer the adventurous. Together they add up to a faultless picture of contemporary improvised music. In ONLINE LISTENING ROOM More than 140 Enhanced Reviews of recent recordings are online for your browsing pleasure at you can CLICK to listen and even CLICK to buy. It’s as easy as ABC! including – Alpha Moment - Peter Hum Bach Goldberg Variations - Lars Vogt Chopin – Charles Richard-Hamelin Dean Burry – Baby Kintyre, An Opera Elements Eternal – Julie Nesrallah, Gryphon Trio Feelings of Affection – Sam Broverman Grain of Sand – Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones House of Dreams – Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon Imagine Sounds Imagine Silences – Ocean Fanfare James Horner: Pas de Deux Khachaturian: Original Piano Works and Transcriptions – Kariné Poghosyan Leo Brouwer: Music for Bandurria and Guitar Massenet’s Elegy - William Aide New Seasons – Gidon Kremer Orbis – Valérie Pete Seeger CD/DVD Set: “Pete-Pak” – Pete Seeger Quincy Porter: String Quartets Nos.5-8 – Ives Quartet R. Murray Schafer: Apocalypsis Subcontinental Drift – Sultans of String Three Dancers – Ryan Choi SOUN St. Petersburg – Cecilia Bartoli; I Barocchisti; Diego Fasoli Volksmobiles - collectif9 Wild Man Dance – Charles Lloyd Shattered Expectations – Acclarion You’ve Been Watching Me – Tim Berne’s Snakeoil ZOFO Plays Terry Riley – Eva Maria-Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi • CLICK to LISTEN! • CLICK to BUY! • 84 | November 1, 2016 - December 7, 2016

Old Wine, New Bottles | Fine Old Recordings Re-Released “No other composer has owed so much to Mother Nature and his own father as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He came into the world endowed with a native genius that probably has not had its equal in the history of music and it was his good fortune to have a father who was able to develop and guide the natural gift.” – Pitts Sanborn, critic and essayist, 1938. BRUCE SURTEES L/R Born in 1756, Wolfgang was not Leopold and Maria Anna Mozart’s only surviving child; his sister Nannerl was born in 1751. Little Wolfgang, still in his cradle heard his sister’s music lessons given by their father and at the age of three he was able to pick out chords on the clavier and repeat passages he had learned by ear. In 1760, he too began clavier lessons from his father and by the next year, aged five, was composing pieces for that instrument that were taken down by Leopold and in 1763 he was already published. The Mozarts – father, daughter and son – began a concert tour including, in 1764, a reception in Versailles by Louis XV, a trip to London and an introduction to J.C. Bach. During that busy period, he composed clavier pieces, in addition to sonatas for violin and piano and cello sonatas, while working on his first two symphonies. Not your typical teenager. By the time he was 21 years old he had composed four piano concertos, five symphonies (there were six but No.2 K17 proved to be by Leopold), choral works, ten violin sonatas, piano pieces and various shorter works taking us to K97. The very young Mozart was a prodigy, a child prodigy who, as the years passed, became evermore prodigious. In his 35 years he composed 41 completed symphonies, 27 piano concertos, four horn concertos, piano sonatas, violin concertos, works for the theatre including 22 operas, 33 violin sonatas, 23 string quartets, eight piano trios, 14 sonatas for organ and strings, seven string quintets, piano quintets and the list goes on…and on. Terminal illness prevented him from finishing the Requiem Mass K626 that was completed by Franz Xavier Süssmayr after Mozart’s death on December 5, 1791. Although his influences were Germanic, Mozart was not a composer of national music. His music is arguably the most universal of all and least locally rooted. Broadly speaking, it more reflects the Italian influence in Austria in the 17th and 18th centuries: elegance, refinement and polish. Paul Moseley is Director of Mozart 225, in other words the man at Universal Music responsible for bringing together all the elements for Mozart 225: W.A. Mozart – The New Complete Edition (Universal Music/Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg, 200 CDs, Books, literature, etc.). In an interview with Barry Holden, VP of Classical Catalogue, Moseley responded to the question, why now? “In December, this year will be the 225th anniversary of Mozart’s death and it occurred to us that this was a chance in our lifetime to celebrate our relationship with one of the greatest creative minds that ever lived and look again at our recorded interpretation on disc and scholarship with this incredible genius. The edition is, we think, the biggest CD box set ever put together. It would take you ten days to get through all the music on the set, I think there are 15,000 minutes which is something like 240 hours. 200 CDs, 4000 tracks, over 600 solo performers and ensembles, 60 orchestras. From a label point of view, to be able to include Decca which obviously is Decca and the old Philips label, Deutsche Grammophon with its wonderful catalogue of Mozart recordings – also the ASV catalog – so there are perhaps nearly 20 labels represented all together. We’ve gone one better even than the Philips’ Mozart edition which came out 25 years ago for the 200th anniversary by not only finding new music that wasn’t recorded before but also offering alternative interpretations of music to give the listener the ability to choose between a period instrument performance for example and a modern instrument performance. Just to give them that sense of the breadth of recorded interpretation of some of the great works. “The first thing you’ll see when you open up is two very large hardback books. The first book is a new biography of Mozart by Cliff Eisen. Cliff Eisen is professor at King’s College London and I would say, probably the world’s preeminent Mozart scholar. “The second book which Cliff has curated the editorial of, is just on the music contained in the boxes so follows you through each box and each work. Cliff was also the editorial consultant for the entire edition so he’s made sure that everything that’s written is up to date and scholarly.” Fitting the two hardbound books, the new Köchel catalogue and 200 CDs into a 26 x 26 x 18 cm box is a tight fit. The bottom of the big inner box holds four smaller removable boxes: “Orchestral,” “Chamber,” “Theatre” and “Sacred/Private/Supplement,” each with a booklet with information on each disc in that group. I found it impossible to locate and remove a disc before easily removing the booklet. Also you don’t bring a 20-pound (9 kg) box to your chair…you go to it. That’s exactly what I have been doing for the past month, appreciating new versions of so many familiar works that restore their newness and originality. Performances of works as over-familiar as Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Piano Concerto No.21 or A Musical Joke (Ein musikalischer Spass K522) inspire close attention. I cannot imagine that Universal expects this labour of love to hit the charts but those who acquire the invaluable set will be rewarded for a long time come. You may examine the complete edition for yourself at November 1, 2016 - December 7, 2016 | 85

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