Frère Jacques - Round about Offenbach

Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia

The indefatigable Italian duo, having wrestled with Kurt Weill (“Round About Weill”) and with Milanese composer Fiorenzo Carpi (“In cerca di cibo”), now turns its attention to another spiritual soul-brother, Jacques Offenbach. The French composer of German origin (born in Cologne in 1819) wrote some of the most playful and sparkling music of the 19th century, ingenious music that could be beautiful and highly satirical by turns, always meticulously crafted. Unconcerned whether his work was regarded as high art, unafraid of frivolity, cheerfully parodying Wagner and other cultural icons – how could Offenbach not be a hero for Trovesi and Coscia??

Featured Artists Recorded

January & March 2009, Centro Civico Musicale Sant ’Anna, Perugia

  • 1Sognando Hélène - Oui ! c'est un rêve
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 2Ah ! que les hommes sont bêtes - Mon Dieu, mon Dieu
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 3Piff, paff, pouff - La Duchessa nei caraibi
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 4Tangoffenbach
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 5Ah! vivre deux - L'eccentrico inventore
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 6Et moi ? - No, tu no !
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 7La voix
    (Jacques Offenbach)
  • 8Parton le barcarole
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 9Beguine del fauno
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 10Sei Italiano ? - No ! ... Je suis Brésilien
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 11La Duchessa della Czarda
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 12C'est une chanson d'amour
    (Jacques Offenbach)
  • 13Galop ... trotterellando
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 14Le jugement de Paris - Ma ! Non so !
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 15Dedicated to Hélène and her little birds
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 16Metamorfosi ... Pour séduire
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia)
  • 17Minuetto - Olympia
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 18Ouverture - Un Americano a Troia
    (Gianluigi Trovesi, Gianni Coscia, Jacques Offenbach)
  • 19Epilogue
    (Jacques Offenbach)
Jazzreview, Editor’s Choice
Stereoplay, CD des Monats
Consigliato da Music Jazz
Can the outrageously Germanic Weill be interpreted by a pair of wily Italians? Of course, but with a strong flavour of their native folklore, with a sense of light classical relief and even an occasional smear of what could be termed jazz. Trovesi and Coscia manage the difficult task of retaining the essence of dank, diseased, underground cabaret, yet still enjoying the rosy-cheeked open-air romping spaces of the Italian countryside.
Martin Longley, Jazz Review
Der Klarinettist Trovesi und der Akkordeonist Coscia hatten vor fünf Jahren mit dem ECM-Erstling In Cerca di Cibo ein wunderbares Statement abgeliefert: 15 gefühlsintensive, offene Dialoge zwischen Kammermusik, Folk und Jazz. Nun gibt’s endlich eine Fortsetzung, in guter Tradition wieder mit einem Essay von Umberto Eco im Booklet. Die beiden Altmeister Trovesi/Coscia – Freunde seit Kindertagen- verständigen sich auch hier mit faszinierender Mühelosigkeit. Neu ist: Sie haben eine Klammer für ihre Zwiegespräche: die Stücke des deutschen Komponisten Kurt Weill, denen sie – von der „Tango Ballade“ bis zum „Alabama Song“ – reizvolle Facetten abringen. Ebenso schlüssig sind ihre selbst verfassten, zahlreichen Intermezzi im Weillschen Geiste.
Matthias Inhoffen, Stereoplay
 “Our two friends have their roots in jazz and one’s curiosity is aroused by the challenge they take up with the mode of the can-can before, without our noticing it (or maybe without noticing it themselves) slipping into swing and rhythm ‘n’ blues – certainly not in the search for Offenbach, maybe in search of themselves, or out of the conviction that basically the story of music goes its own way, through evocation and anticipation, as if they were convinced that every composer wrote to anticipate an infinity of music to come: theirs in particular, obviously.”

So writes Umberto Eco in his third consecutive liner note for the duo of Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia, following on from “In Cerca di cibo” and “Round About Weill”, discs which honoured respectively Milanese composer Fiorenzo Carpi and Kurt Weill with affectionate, free and witty reinterpretations. They now travel, by the scenic route, “Round about Offenbach”. Their composed and improvised responses to Offenbach revolve around their arrangements of his works including selections from “La Belle Hélène”, “La Périchole”, “La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein”, and “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”.

Offenbach, French composer of German origin (born in Cologne in 1819) wrote some of the 19th century’s most effervescent music, with a sly disregard for highbrow tastes, largely unconcerned whether his work was regarded as high art, certainly unafraid of frivolity. He gleefully parodied Wagner and other cultural icons in ingenious music that could be beautiful and highly satirical by turns, frequently playing with levels and degrees of “seriousness” and “sincerity”. But craftsmanship was a given: his pieces were always meticulously made, as even opponents were forced to allow. Debussy, through gritted teeth, called Offenbach “a gifted musician who hated music.” As a popular composer who remained an outsider, rarely fêted by the critics, he holds a particular appeal for Trovesi and Coscia, who have a long history of siding with cultural anti-heroes, in particular happily waving banners for exponents of art forms alleged to be “minor” – in this case, the operetta. For Gianluigi and Gianni, Offenbach’s a comrade, a soul brother, “Frère Jacques.”
2023 June 15 Teatro Dal Verme Milano, Italy