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January 11 , 2013

Reviews of the Week

French magazine Diapason on Valery Afanassiev's Schubert recording Moments musicaux

La première caractéristique de son jeu réside dans une articulation minutieuse mise en lumière par des tempos retenus. [...] La musique y trouve une certaine profondeur polyphonique et une grande sérénité. [...] On a rarement entendu une telle explosion de tendresse dans la partie médiane du finale de la D 850, et rien que pour ces quelques mesures remplies de grâce, cet enregistrement est à connaître.
Jérôme Bastianelli, Diapason


Arvo Pärt's Adam's Lament impresses British and American reviewers

Arvo Pärt’s standing as one of the most important choral composers of his generation is surely confirmed on this highly impressive recording featuring the Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis and the Riga Sinfonietta. The centrepiece is the title-track itself, ‘Adam’s Lament’ a large-scale work for choir and string-orchestra, composed in 2009 and premiered in the following year in Istanbul. It sets texts by the Eastern Orthodox monk Saint Silouan the Athonite (1836-1938), the strength of whose words lies in the manner in which he extends Adam’s grief and suffering to humanity as a whole, evidenced in such lines as ‘Adam wept because peace and love were lost to all men on account of his sin.’ The magnitude of such loss is reflected in Pärt’s ambitious setting. [...] There’s a real sense of drive and momentum to Pärt’s recent music, a quality that may come as a surprise to to those familiar with his earlier works.
Pwyllap Sion, Gramophone

For his latest recording, Pärt has collected eight different works for various combinations of instruments and singers in four different languages: Russian, Latin, French and Estonian. This nourishing anthology, handsomely produced and annotated, demonstrates Pärt’s wide range and ingenuity in combining various isntrumental and vocal forces to illuminate a text’s inner life.
Harlow Robinson, Sunday Telegram


German magazine Fono Forum on Mercurial Balm by Thomas Strønen’s and Iain Ballamy's group Food

Die Energieströme von Musikern diverser Genres zu bündeln gehört zum Konzept von Food. [...] Durch drei unterschiedliche angierende Gitarristen - das Spektrum zieht sich von rhythmischem rauschen über düstere Sound-Collagen bis hin zu indischer Musik – werden neue Klangregionen vermessen. Eine fantastische Exkursion, an der sich in ‚Moonpie’ auch der Trompeter Nils Petter Molvaer beteiligt.
Gerd Filtgen, Fono Forum


The box set containing four albums by Jack DeJohnette's group Special Edition is welcomed by English and American media

The four adventurous freewheeling albums offer all the proof you need of his mastery of composition as well as the drums. […] At the core of each album is a dynamic dialogue between two top-class saxophonists (David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman among them) .Their explorations of swing, free jazz, fusion, reggae and all points in between sound as fresh as ever.
John Bungey, The Times

While every track is very much a ‘conversation among equals’ (making the whole collection a perfect example of ‘chamber music by other means’), DeJohnette never holds back on his own inventiveness behind his drum set. Indeed, beyond the drums themselves, his compositions are all distinguished by the rhythmic eccentricities of their melodic lines. This is very much music for the attentive listener, and ECM has done a great service in gathering this particular facet of DeJohnette’s creativity into a single package.
Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com


British reviewer Peter Bacon on José Luis Montón's album Solo Guitarra

His interpretation of Bach’s Air from his Orchestral Suite No. 3 is especially revealing for the way he gives the well-known tune a complete reworking as a Spanish folksong, with gorgeous flourishes and flamenco decorations. All the other tunes are original Monón compositions, but the guitar language is very familiar, albeit with fresh twists. It’s also a beautifully programmed album, moving from slow reflection to sprightlier celebration and back again.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast


Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung on the Terje Rypdal box set Odyssey - In Studio and in Concert

‘Odyssey’ ist ein zentrales Werk des norwegischen Gitarristen, weil er hier zu seinem einigartigen Ausdruck fand – nicht nur was sein einmal wehmütiges, dann eruptives Spiel an der elektrischen Gitarre, sondern auch, was seinen Stil zwischen John Coltrane und Jimi Hendrix betrifft. Der Free Jazz der Anfänge zeigt sich hier nur noch in kurzen Ausbrüchen, die Spannung in eine sonst meditativ wirkende Melange aus rockigen rollenden Patterns und nordisch-melancholischen Stimmungsbildern bringen. Gerade ‚Rolling Stone’ zeigt, wie Rypdal und seine vier Mitmusiker die meist einfach Motive gemächlich auf- und ausbauen, sie im luftigen Zusammenspiel kaum variieren. Sie ziehen den Rhythmus nur langsam an und lassen ihn wieder auseinanderfallen – eine optimale Basis für die Solo-Exkurse der elektrischen Gitarre oder der Posaune. Auf diese Weise schaffen die Musiker auch lange Spannungsbögen, nicht nur innerhalb einzelner Stücke, sondern innerhalb des gesamten Doppelalbums.
Gz, Neue Zürcher Zeitung


The DVD El Encuentro is reviewed on The Jazz Breakfast

The film is about the two musicians, their constrating backgrounds and musical worlds, but also about the universal nature of music and the common languages of melody, harmony, rhythm and emotion that connect all musicians. [...] Saluzzi and Lechner make for an odd couple on the surface - phyically they are so contrasting, for a start – but this adds to the charm of their relationship, which is not only a musical one but one of learning to understand each other’s cultures. Saluzzi has some very moving and profound things to say about his music, and music in general, and that, and of course the music, make this an utterly enthralling short film.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast