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October 26 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

Kim Kashkashians new recording of music by Hungarian composers György Kurtág and György Ligeti, Music for Viola , impresses a reviewer from Chicago

New compositional vernaculars require fluent translators, and concert soloist Kim Kashkashian ‘speaks’ Kurtág and Ligeti with the eloquence of a poet laureate. For her latest release, Music for Viola, the Armenian-American exquisitely executes György Ligeti’s vocabulary of extremes and György Kurtág’s concise sonic fragments in one of the year’s most exceptional albums. [...] The beauty here may be unfamiliar to some, but it’s nonetheless inescapable in the hands of this alto-clef interlocutor.
Doyle Armbrust, Time Out Chicago

Valentin Silvestrov's Sacred Songs is reviewed on classicalmodernmusic.com

The music unfolds with an internal logic and yet explores sacred ambiances with a kind of passion that nods to tradition while making brilliant use of contemporary melodic-harmonic possibilities in a directly communicating way. Like Arvo Pärt, Silvestrov references early music without harkening back to it, creating in the process his own unmistakably original, engaging music.
Greg Applegate Edwards, ClassicalModernMusic.com

Matanë Malit by the Elina Duni Quartet is hailed in the USA and England

Matanë Malit presents one of themost captivating new voices in the global jazz scene. Elina Duni is a jazz and classically-trained singer from Albania. Gifted with a pristine voice, she incorporates Balkan folk music into her sound. [...] Matanë Malit is a beautifully sculpted album of Albanian folk music transformed into elegant atmospheric jazz.
A. Romero, World Music Central

This traditional framework is given new focus as sensitive as it is vivid, with Duni’s subtly pitched improvisatory inclinations, including blues-touched vocalese, receiving nudging, nuanced support from Swiss pianist Vallon and his cohorts. In fact, support is the wrong word, so seamlessly do the contributions from all participants fashion a poetics of the ancient and the new. [...] Although mostly reflective in nature, the music can also really fly, as in ‘Up’. Highly recommended.
Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal

The reviewer from Jazz Times magazine feels comfortable in Michael Formanek's Small Places

The album’s title aptly describes the makeup of Formanek’s compositions, which have many small sections, offering something substantial to anyone ready to explore them. And even when the sound becomes spare and quiet, the suspense never flags.
Mike Shanley, Jazz Times

Swiss band Nik Bärtsch's Ronin impress at the American Westcoast with their new double album Live

Layering his fidgety piano into and above ever-evolving patterns from a locked-in rhythm section, the group flirts with rock, funk and some kind of cosmic, Steve Reich informed varietal of jazz. When bassist Björn Meyer and drummer Kaspar Rast start percolating, Bärtsch touches on a new form of musical propulsion, one that isn’t necessarily swinging but alway moving, evolving and expanding, ever forward.
Christopher Barton, LA Times

US magazine Jazz Times on Bobo Stenson's Indicum

Bobo Stenson’s trio with bassist Anders Jommin and drummer Jon Fält belongs on the short list with the great piano trios of our time. But Stenson records less often than the Jaretts, Mehldaus, Bollanis and Morans. Indicum is only his fifth trio release since 1998. A new recording by Stenson is a significant event. A Stenson album is also an organic whole. He gets to that whole by assembling diverse starting points and then allowing their explorations to flow into his poetic, austere aesthetic world. [...] The pianist to whom he is closest is Bill Evans. Like Evans Stenson deals in feelings that listeners previously assumed were theirs alone. Sadness expressed through lyricism and shared becomes something other than sadness.
Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times