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October 12 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

András Schiff`s new recording of Das Wohltemperierte Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach impresses reviewers in Germany and the United States

Das Klangbild ist klar konturiert, durchsichtig, lichterfüllt. Die Artikulation wie auch die rhythmische Gestaltung und Tempo wirken ausgewogen, altersweise. Alle melodischen Linien, aber auch alle harmonischen Sensationen treten dabei schön deutlich zutage. Und alle unterschiedlichen Charaktere dieser Präludien und Fugen, die legatosingenden Lieder ohne Worte ebenso wie die Tanzsatzähnlichen oder Kirchentonalen, kommen zauberhaft zur Entfaltung.
Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Schiff has long been an eloquent interpreter of Bach on the modern piano, bringing out the music’s contrapuntal texture with extraordinary clarity. But his treatment of the ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier” adds a level of tenderness and lyricism that hasn’t always been so pointedly in evidence. Each prelude and fugue brings with it not a new key, but a new expressive sound world, by turns reflective or forthright, aggressive or languorous. And through it all, Schiff keeps a spotlight – not too starkly, but without letting any details slip – on the interplay of individual melodic lines that is the essence of Bach’s fugal writing. The result is at once a brilliant structural essay and a rhapsodic display of warmth and tact.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

Swiss daily Der Tagesanzeiger on Kim Kashkashian's interpretation of music by Kurtág and Ligeti on Music for Viola

Kim Kashkashian bringt die beiden auf ihrer aktuellen CD einmal mehr zusammen: zu Kurtágs Werken für Bratsche solo spielt sie Ligetis Bratschen-Sonate, ein sinnliches Werk, das den großen Atem kennt, aber auch den atemlosen Loop. Und dazu jene kantable Kraft, die Kim Kashkashian so gelöst und zwingend freizusetzen weiss.
Susanne Kübler, Tagesanzeiger

Arianna Savall and Petter Udland Johansen enchant the reviewer from US-magazine Icon with their music on Hirundo Maris

Together with some fellow stringers and percussionists, this duo weaves some of the most heartrendingly lovely tapestries imaginable. [...] ‘Hirundo Maris’ is beauteous simplicity made into compact form...
Mark Keresman, Icon

Michael Formanek's Small Places is hailed in the US and Great Britain

A few years ago this bassist and composer formed his current quartet with the alto saxophonist Tim Berne, the pianist Craig Taborn and the drummer Gerald Cleaver. Imposingly good right out of the gate, it has only been getting better. On ‘Small Places’, the group’s potent, intriguing second album, each musician finds room for maximum expression, while committing to immersion in a larger sound.
The New York Times

The first ECM disc from this band, ‘The Rub And Spare Change’, released in 2010, received a much-coveted five-star review from the US magazine Downbeat. This disc does not disappoint those with understandably high expectations. [...] To write music that stretches the likes of Taborn and Berne is to get pretty complex and demanding, but Formanek also leaves lots of room for improvisation, albeit sometimes with all kinds of traps and tricky fences to negotiate while letting the imagination roam free-ish. [...] It’s easy amid the brilliance of the other three to take the leader’s role for granted, but Formanek is one of those ‘invisible hand’ bass players who is bringing as much to the others’ playing as he is to his own. Thoroughly original 21st century jazz from four throughly original jazz musicians playing one thoroughly original composer’s music.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

British reviewers on Marc Johnson's and Eliane Elias' quartet recording Swept Away

Pianist Elias’s confident delivery and light touch are captured at their best, morphing lush impressionism into a late-night blues, adding eastern-accented inflections to a Latin cruise and delivering a valedictory tribute to the late Michael Brecker – saxophonist Joe Lovano is a sensitive guest.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

As sensitive, small-group jazz goes, this is close to definitive.
Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday

Praise from England for the music of Nik Bärtsch's Ronin on live

Bärtsch deploys forlorn melodies imbued with a Satie-esque melancholia. Elsewhere his hand-muted piano strings transmute haunting arabesque into elegant koto-like flourishes. By contrast, the guttural yelps and growls emanating from Sha’s contrabass clarinet puts a fiery breath underneath the inventive metrical variations of percussionist Andy Pupato and Kaspar Rast’s constantly percolating snare and hi-hat. [...] Although marking the end of a part of the band’s history, this frequently hair-raising and dazzling summary is a celebration of their considerable achievements to date.
Sid Smith, BBC Online

British magazine Jazz Journal on Canopée by Dans les arbres

This is the second album by the Arbres quartet, and it is as remarkable as their debut on ECM. They combine unusual sound sources, which they use to create novel sonic transformations at a generally deliberate pace. [...] Perhaps it’s closer to free improvisation as commonly understood – whatever that is! – but the unusual sources, particularly the gorgeous bell-sounds, create a wonderfully individual sound world. [...] These players have created a genuinely musical artistic triumph.
Andy Hamilton, Jazz Journal