Moderato cantabile

Anja Lechner, François Couturier

EN / DE

After a decade of shared work in the Tarkovsky Quartet and an ongoing alliance in the Pergolesi Project (with singer Maria Pia De Vito), German cellist Anja Lechner and French pianist Franҫois Couturier unveil their new duo. The players approach the music from different vantage points: Lechner is a classical soloist with an uncommon interest in improvisation, Couturier a jazz musician travelling ever further from jazz. On Moderato cantabile they present their own arrangements of works by three fascinating outsiders from the margins of music history – G.I. Gurdjieff, Komitas, and Federico Mompou. To differing degree their music reveals influences from the east, both in terms of relationship to folk traditions and religious music, and philosophically. A contemplative air pervades the session. The programme has connections to Anja Lechner’s acclaimed account of Gurdjieff’s music on the earlier Chants, Hymns and Dances (with Vassilis Tsabropoulos), but the new duo has its own identity, and time spent in Armenia has deepened Lechner’s understanding of the contexts from which the music emerged: her cello assumes almost a singer’s role in these pieces, exploring the strong melodies. Franҫois Couturier’s compositions function as both contrasting and complementary elements. As a player, Franҫois has a long history of working with Mompou’s music. He has been influenced, furthermore, by his association with Anouar Brahem, and the sonorities of the Middle East are part of his palette. Moderato cantabile, a striking and unusual album, was recorded in the rich acoustics of the Lugano studio in November 2013 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Nach einem Jahrzehnt gemeinsamer Arbeit im Tarkovsky Quartet und zusätzlich zur andauernden Verbindung im Pergolesi Project (mit Sängerin Maria Pia de Vito) stellen die Cellistin Anja Lechner und der französische Pianist François Couturier ihr neues Duo vor. Darin gehen sie die Musik von unterschiedlichen Startpunkten an: Lechner ist eine klassisch ausgebildete Solistin mit ungewöhnlichem Interesse an Improvisation, Couturier ein Jazzmusiker, der sich immer weiter vom Jazz entfernt. Auf Moderato cantabile präsentieren sie ihre eigenen Arrangements der Werke dreier faszinierender Außenseiter der Musikgeschichte – G.I. Gurdieff, Komitas und Federico Mompou. Deren Musik zeigt in unterschiedlichen Graden Einflüsse aus dem Osten, sowohl was ihre Beziehung zu Folktraditionen und zu sakraler Musik angeht, als auch in philosophischer Hinsicht. Eine kontemplative Aura durchzieht die Session. Im Programm gibt es Verbindungen zu Anja Lechners vielgelobter Auseinandersetzung mit der Musik von Gurdieff auf dem Album Chants, Hymns and Dances (mit Vassilis Tsabropoulos), doch das neue Duo hat eine eigene Identität, und Aufenthalte in Armenien haben Anja Lechners Verständnis der Zusammenhänge, aus denen dort die Musik entsteht, vertieft: Ihr Cello nimmt in diesen Stücken fast die Rolle eines Sängers ein, es erforscht die starken Melodien. François Couturiers Kompositionen fungieren hier sowohl als kontrastierende wie als ergänzende Elemente. Als Interpret hat Couturier sich schon lange mit Mompous Musik beschäftigt. Er ist zusätzlich durch seine Verbindung mit Anouar Brahem beeinflusst, hat die Klangfarben des Mittleren Ostens auf seiner Palette. Moderato cantabile, ein verblüffendes und ungewöhnliches Album, wurde im November 2013 in der reichen Akustik des Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera in Lugano aufgenommen und von Manfred Eicher produziert.
Featured Artists Recorded

November 2013, Auditorio RSI - Radio Svizzera, Lugano

Original Release Date

05.09.2014

  • 1Sayyid chant and dance no. 3 - Hymn no. 7
    (Georges I. Gurdjieff, Thomas de Hartmann, Georges I. Gurdjieff, Thomas de Hartmann)
    06:42
  • 2Voyage
    (François Couturier)
    05:27
  • 3Chinar es
    (Komitas Vardapet)
    06:29
  • 4Canción y danza VI
    (Federico Mompou)
    05:12
  • 5Musica callada XXVIII - Impresiones intimas I
    (Federico Mompou, Federico Mompou)
    05:59
  • 6Soleil rouge
    (François Couturier)
    03:36
  • 7Papillons
    (François Couturier)
    07:27
  • 8Hymn no. 8 - Night procession
    (Georges I. Gurdjieff, Thomas de Hartmann, Georges I. Gurdjieff, Thomas de Hartmann)
    06:44
  • 9No. 11 - Fêtes lointaines no. 3
    (Georges I. Gurdjieff, Thomas de Hartmann, Federico Mompou)
    04:47
  • 10Impresiones intimas VIII "Secreto"
    (Federico Mompou)
    05:04
After a decade of shared work in the Tarkovsky Quartet and an ongoing alliance in the Pergolesi Project with singer Maria Pia De Vito (see the recent Il Pergolese album), German cellist Anja Lechner and French pianist Franҫois Couturier unveil their new duo. The players approach the music from different vantage points: Lechner is a classical soloist, with an uncommon interest in improvisation, Couturier a jazz musician travelling ever further from jazz. On Moderato cantabile they present their own arrangements of works by three fascinating outsiders from the margins of music history – G.I. Gurdjieff, Komitas, and Federico Mompou. To differing degree the music of these composers reveals influences from the east, in terms of relationship to folk music traditions and ritual and religious music, and also philosophically. The programme has connections to Anja Lechner’s acclaimed account of Gurdjieff’s music on the earlier Chants, Hymns and Dances (recorded in 2003 with Vassilis Tsabropoulos), but the new duo has its own distinct identity, and many visits to Armenia have deepened Lechner’s understanding of the contexts from which the music emerged: her cello assumes almost a singer’s role in these pieces, exploring the strong melodies.

Franҫois Couturier is featured here both as player and composer and his pieces function as both contrasting and complementary elements. As the liner notes point out, “Years spent in the company of Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem seem to have reinforced a contemplative element in Couturier’s own idiom as player, composer, arranger. A reflective patience is characteristic of much of his work. In his music, with or without a score, themes tend to be slowly unfolded and developed. His compositions are ‘evolutionary’, open to change in the moment, and his improvisations maintain a lyrical awareness and sense of form. Unlike many improvising contemporaries he is unafraid to broach the brink of silence – making him perhaps a natural interpreter for Mompou’s Música Callada.” Couturier has previously played arrangements of Mompou in jazz piano trio contexts, and the Catalan composer has been an important reference for him, just as the Transcaucasian Gurdjieff and the Armenian Komitas Vardapet have been important references for Lechner. The cellist first came to understand Komitas’s role in bridging Armenian secular and sacred music though her work with Tigran Mansurian. Her interpretations of Gurdjieff, meanwhile, had a powerful impact in Armenia, and inspired the foundation of the Gurdjieff Folk Instruments Ensemble (refer to ECM 2236). Once again on Moderato cantabile Lechner and Couturier, with their new arrangements of Komitas, Gurdjieff and Mompou, show us that this music responds to a freely interpretative approach.

Moderato cantabile was recorded in the rich acoustics of Lugano’s Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera in November 2013, and produced by Manfred Eicher.
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 June 24 A Rite of Summer Festival Tavertet, Spain
2024 July 16 Herrenchiemsee Festspiele Fraueninsel, Germany
2024 July 25 Festival International De Música Marvão, Portugal
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