El último aliento

Zsófia Boros

The focus of Zsófia Boros’s third recording for ECM’s New Series is split two-ways, with one spotlight turned towards contemporary compositions from Argentina and the other on the multiple-idioms spanning music of French composer Mathias Duplessy. Fanfare magazine has spoken of the Vienna-based Hungarian guitarist in glowing terms, noting her “clear, beautiful tone, liquid phrasing, precise layering of melody and accompaniment, fluid figuration and her emphatic sense of mood and emotion” – all qualities that are especially apparent on El último aliento. The album takes its name from the Carlos Moscardini composition which closes the record. Other Argentinian composers interpreted by Boros here are Joaquín Alem, Quique Sinesi and Alberto Ginastera, together making for a vivid repertory that sees the guitarist alternating technique, pace and mood in supple waves. For Sinesi’s “Tormenta de ilusión” Boros switches to the ronroco, a stringed instrument that hails from the Andean regions. By combining the Argentinian music with the expressive pieces by Duplessy, Zsófia Boros creates a suspenseful programme that emphasizes her distinct touch, commitment and wide ranging influences in a quietly compelling manner. The album was recorded at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher.
Zsófia Boros’ dritte Einspielung für ECM hat zwei Schwerpunkte: Einerseits zeitgenössische Kompositionen aus Argentinien, andererseits die mehrere Idiome übergreifende Musik des französischen Komponisten Mathias Duplessy. Die US-Zeitschrift Fanfare hat die in Wien lebende ungarische Gitarristin in den höchsten Tönen gelobt und vor allem ihren "klaren, schönen Ton, die flüssige Phrasierung, die präzise Schichtung von Melodie und Begleitung, die fließende Fingerbewegung und ihren emphatischen Sinn für Stimmung und Emotionen" hervorgehoben – allesamt Qualitäten, die auf El último aliento besonders zur Geltung kommen. Der Name des Albums stammt von der gleichnamigen Carlos-Moscardini-Komposition, die das Album abschließt. Weitere argentinische Komponisten, die Boros hier interpretiert, sind Joaquín Alem, Quique Sinesi und Alberto Ginastera – ein dynamisches Repertoire, das die Gitarristin mit technischem und lyrischem Glanz vorträgt. Für Sinesis "Tormenta de ilusión" wechselt Boros zum Ronroco, einem aus den Andenregionen stammenden Saiteninstrument. Indem sie die argentinische Musik mit den expressiven Stücken Duplessys kombiniert, schafft Zsófia Boros ein berückendes Programm, das ihren einzigartigen Anschlag und weitreichenden Einflüsse auf zugleich sanfte und fesselnde Weise unterstreicht. Das Album wurde im Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano aufgenommen und von Manfred Eicher produziert.
Featured Artists Recorded

March-April 2022, Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano

  • 1De rêve et de pluie
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 2Salir adentro
    (Joaquín Alem)
  • 3El abrazo
    (Quique Sinesi)
  • 4Milonga
    (Alberto Ginastera)
  • 5Le secret d'Hiroshigé
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 6Perle de Rosée
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 7Tormenta de ilusión
    (Quique Sinesi)
  • 8Le labyrinthe de Vermeer
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 9Berceuse
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 10Valse pour Camille
    (Mathias Duplessy)
  • 11El último aliento
    (Carlos Moscardini)
Zsófia Boros’s distinct voice on guitar has been met with international acclaim since being introduced to the ECM roster, with Fanfare Magazine commending her “clear, beautiful tone, liquid phrasing, precise layering of melody and accompaniment, fluid figuration and her emphatic sense of mood and emotion” – qualities that are especially apparent on El último aliento. The guitarist’s previous two recordings for the label brought her to a broad spectrum of contemporary musical places, with repertory spanning everything from South American scores to compositions by her European peers – on her debut En otra parte she even rendered a striking interpretation of Ralph Towner’s “Green and Golden”, followed by her take on Egberto Gismonti’s “Celebração de Núpcias” on Local Objects. The focus of this new offering is split two-ways, with one spotlight turned towards music from Argentina and the other on the multiple-idioms spanning compositions of French composer Mathias Duplessy.
When it comes to putting together a programme, Zsófia lets instinct guide her: “My choice of music repertory is intuitive. Pieces of music are like places for me, like spaces that I visit, step into and experience. They all have their own mood and colour, their own scent, their own pulse and a special effect on me. Each place calls for different forms of behaviour in me. Sometimes I am allowed to surrender myself freely to the moment, sometimes I channel a certain pulse and go with it. Elsewhere I just observe, I am a part of the space and adapt to the ‘local customs’, so I make an effort to follow the unwritten rules.”
Intuition was also responsible for her connecting with French composer Mathias Duplessy, whose music makes up a large part of the programmes here. Zsófia reached out to him several years back and his “Nocturne” appeared on Zsófia’s last album Local Objects. Duplessy’s compositional language is marked by the harmonic customs of the 19th Century, yet instilled with contemporary structures, rhythmic outbursts and swift displays of a range of embellishments, here exquisitely executed by Zsófia. His pieces share a distinctive romanticism in common: “De rêve et de pluie”, “Le secret d’Hiroshigé”, “Le labyrinthe de Vermeer“, “Berceuse”, “Valse pour Camille” and “Perle de Rosée”.
Another familiar acquaintance of Zsófia’s returns with Quique Sinesi – En otra parte included his “Cielo abierto”. The Argentinian composer’s two pieces here belong among the album’s most unique sections. On “Tormenta de Illusion” Zsófia switches to the ronroco, an instrument with ten strings arranged in five double-courses similar to the charango – on which Sinesi originally conceived the piece – but covering a slightly lower range. Both are from the Andean regions. Rooted in South American folklore, the brief, pattern-coated song stands in contrast to Sinesi’s “El Abrazo” (in English the title translates to ‘Hug’), for which Zsófia straps a rubber band around her guitar strings.
Zsófia: “While my children were sleeping, I thought of muting the guitar differently so that I could play late in the evening, too. One day I stretched a rubber band over the fretboard and was fascinated by the sound. I found it particularly beautiful with ‘El Abrazo’, a song that indeed feels like a warm embrace.”
Joaquin Alem’s “Salir ardentro” is a romance much in the tradition of late 19th, early 20th century guitar solo works, while Alberto Ginastera’s take on the “Milonga” form is a prime example of how much tango actually permeates this traditional South American dance and Zsófia navigates its subtle emphasis with diligence and nuance.  El último aliento closes with the title composition, penned by the Buenos Aires-based composer-guitarist and music professor Carlos Morscardini.
Like her previous albums for ECM, El último aliento was recorded at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher.
2023 June 16 BeJazz Bern, Switzerland
2023 September 01 Ambleside Days Lake District, United Kingdom
2023 September 03 Ambleside Days Lake District, United Kingdom

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