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September 16 , 2011

Reviews of the Week

“Arco Iris” by Amina Alaoui in Le Monde

Entourée d’un quintette de musiciens d’une finesse exemplaire, la chanteuse et compositrice marocaine Amina Alaoui dessine ce qu’elle nomme la “géographie poétique” de la péninsule Ibérique. Si le répertoire arabo-andalou (plus particulièrement la tradition Gharnati, une forme originaire de Grenade) est depuis toujours son chemin musical, la chanteuse entend dans le fado et le flamenco des signes qui l’interpellent.
Le Monde

The Wire reviews "Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff"

Gurdjieff’s music was explored by Jarrett on his 1979 ECM album “Sacred Hymns“ (which is worth revisiting). Here, though, it is rescued from classicism by Levon Eskenian, who has assembled some of the best Armenian traditional musicians into a flexible ensemble that delivers Gurdjieff’s music, if we choose to attribute it so, in small-scale arrangements at a time. The oud, central to “Chant From A Holy Book“ and the three Sayyid chants, is now, partly thanks to ECM, the most familiar of these instruments, though all have some kinship with vernacular or classical instruments in the West: flutes, harps or zithers, reeds. The effect is strong and strange, and unexpectedly its very physicality and peasant alertness restore something of Gurdjieff’s muscular spirituality. Simply but immaculately recorded, it’s a beautiful set.
Brian Morton, The Wire

"Athens Concert" in the Daily Telegraph

Saxophonist Lloyd’s work for ECM over 22 years forms a redemptive arc, re-establishing him as one of the greatest of all contemporary jazz artists. His latest quartet is also one of his best ever. For this historic concert recording from the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the band are joined for some songs by vocalist Maria Farantouri, a famous interpreter of Theodorakis, and two further Greek players on lyra and piano. Lloyd sounds on absolute top form, burbling soulfully.
Phil Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Music web international about "Induuchlen" by Heinz Holliger

Although best known for his oboe playing, Swiss Heinz Holliger is also an accomplished composer, as well as conductor. Here from new music specialist label, ECM, is a selection of his chamber music; it’s one of only three CDs devoted entirely to Holliger’s work. Well-performed and well-recorded this is nicely produces, and should be snapped up by lovers of contemporary music. Holliger’s music is distinctive and full of character and beauty. This CD does him proud! […] The four substantive works are ones which have connections, have aspects in common and reference one another, albeit in oblique ways and ways about which you have to be informed to appreciate. At the same time, each is its own work; each answers chiefly to itself. The achievement of Holliger as conductor and the Swiss Chamber Soloists is to have struck the balance between these two extremes very successfully: they obviously know the body of Holliger’s work well enough to make the necessary links… the ways in which wind instruments are used for example. At the same time they enter into the very particular sound-world of each piece sufficiently deeply and well as to provide convincing and highly satisfying performances.
Mark Sealey, Music web international