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February 14 , 2014

Reviews of the week

The music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg as recorded by Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica fascinates the reviewer from German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Als hätte man den Geigen in der Streicherserenade Tschaikowskys bös die Wirbel verdreht: So klingt der Anfang der zehnten Symphonie von Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Aus der Tonalität bohrt sich das 1968 in Moskau entstandene Stück in die Zwölftontechnik vor. Die Kremerata Baltica unter Gidon Kremer hat jetzt ein ausgezeichnetes Doppelalbum mit der Musik von Weinberg herausgebracht. Neben der Symphonie bietet es das liebenswürdige Concertino für Violine und Orchester op. 42, das folkloristisch milde Streichtrio op. 48, die expressiv zugespitzte dritte Solosonate für Violine op. 126 und die Sonatine für Klavier und Violine op.46, wo sich zur angespannten Sehnigkeit von Kremers Geige der überwache, junge, begabte Daniil Trifonov am Klavier gesellt.
Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Reactions from England and Austria to Extended Circle, the new recording by the Tord Gustavsen Quartet

Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen returns with a new finely balanced album as part of his now well established quartet including tenor saxophone [...] Already garnering a good deal of airplay is the radio friendly piece ‘Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg’ (‘A castle in heaven’) which is actually based on a Norwegian folk tune and the relaxing groove is driven by a shuffling drumbeat from Jarle Vespestad who excels throughout with his sensitive percussive accompaniment. On the melodic midtempo number ‘Staying There’, there are some New Orleans-esque drum rolls from Vespestad. Meanwhile for a quintessential ECM-sound one need look no further than the superb ‘The Embrace’ which has both lyricism and grace in abundance [...] what is particularly impressive about the album is how the formations shift effortlessly and thus the austere sounding ballad ‘The Gift’ is performed as a trio minus horn as is the laid-back opener ‘Right There’ [...] In summation, nothing is rushed and everything fits into a logical progression where the compositions develop organically and there is a good deal of telepathic interplay between the individual constituents.
Tim Stenhouse, UK Vibe

Wieder zelebriert man auf ‘Extended Circle’ die Bedeutung von Pausen und den warmen, homogenen Bandsound, diees Mal vielleicht mit noch mehr mit ‚quiet gospel fire’. Gustavsen reflektiert mit Stücken wie ‚Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg’ (‚Ein Schloss im Himmel’) seine Wurzeln in der Kirchenmusik, bleibt dabei aber immer zart und subtil. Dieses Quartett ist ein Paradebeispiel für die Virtuosität des Einfachen.
Martin Schuster, Concerto

Arild Andersen`s new trio recording Mira with Tommy Smith and Paolo Vinaccia impresses the reviewer from daily paper The Scotsman

The Norwegian bass player is a master on his instrument, and his rich sonority, harmonic ingenuity and flowing improvisations lie at the heart of the trio’s intricate three-way conversation. Tommy Smith’s own fund of invention on tenor saxophone (and the Japanese shakuhachi, a wood flute, on ‘Raijin’) is as impressive as ever, and Paolo Vinaccia’s multi-faceted drumming plays a full part in the music’s creation. Their original compositions are augmented by a lovely take on Bacharach’s ‘Alfie’.
Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman

Dance Without Answer by Norma Winstone, Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing, is reviewed in The Times

Norma Winstone is expert at exploring the deeper meaning of a lyric and this set features spare, spiritual readings of tunes from Nick Drake, Tom Waits and Fred Neil, plus a radiant version of Madonna’s ‘Live to Tell’. On their third album together, Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German reedsman Klaus Gesing supply elegantly haunting accompaniment.
John Bungey, The Times

British website Marlbank on Keith Jarrett’s historical album Arbour Zena, now available also on CD and as high resolution download, cut from the original analogue master

Ultimately overshadowed by ‘The Köln Concert’ recorded earlier in 1975 ‘Arbour Zena’ was recorded in the autumn (when ‘The Köln Concert’ was released) but this expansive chamber work, the product of the studio, was everything the solo live piano album could not possibly be, and would have to wait a short while until the following year to be released. ‘Arbour Zena’ finds Jarrett alongside the Belonging Band’s Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano saxophone and Charlie Haden from the American quartet plus a string orchestra plucked from Stuttgart’s Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Sarajevo-born conductor Mladen (aka Bobby) Gutesha conducting. Recorded at the Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart[...] the initially shimmering Copland-esque ‘Runes’ (dedicated to the unknown by Jarrett) takes your breath away, Jarrett’s naked improvising power cut loose after the five minute mark and by 11 minutes in it’s like a mystical earth ritual listening to Garbarek in diaphonous repose responding with great waves of emotion, the saxophone just the means of expression to hand. Followed by the more sprawling and latinate ‘Solara March’ (cellist Pablo Casals and ‘the sun’ the dedicatees) and then the long ‘Mirrors’, it’s an often enthralling unfairly under-appreciated album, quite beautiful in places with Jarrett cocooned by the strings rather than cocooning them.
Stephen Graham, Marlbank