A place in the sun: five albums with a non-trivial interpretation of jazz and classics
The American Kronos Quartet, one of the most famous chamber groups, released an album with new works by Terry Riley, one of the fathers of American minimalism. Nothing special: they play Riley’s music all their lives, and, for example, their album “Terry Riley: Requiem for Adam” is a masterpiece of love and pain … But then they created something strange and not characteristic of anyone. Let us recall at the same time other albums where either a strange classic or “normal” sounds, but in an unusual refraction. Thank God that classical recording has its own hooligans!
Kronos Quartet “Terry Reily: Sun Rings” Actually, we’ll start with the “Kronos”, who spend their entire long career either performing innovative music, or mixing it with ethnics, rock, jazz Telonius Monk or Bill Evans and so on. Terry Riley is one of the quartet’s favorite authors. This particular work was written in 2002, but the record is released only now. Then it seemed interesting: the sounds of the cosmos – or rather, the plasma – somehow captured and recorded … and academic music is interwoven in them. A bright idea – even for Kronos. The album, subjectively speaking, is varied and enjoyable. Actually, the music reminds modernism in the spirit of Bartok and Stravinsky (all these angular phrases with sharp accents, which nevertheless intertwine into something melodious and soothing, like an exotic-folklore lullaby). Oriental motif in Planet Elf Sindoori. Venus Upstream ”- lively and nervous. Many choirs: male, female and mixed. The chant in Prayer central is beautiful – it’s really choral! It is interesting that here the voices are not heavenly angelic and seemingly howls of the cold Universe, but on the contrary, human ones are emphasized. Good contrast – it pinches the skin. Apple.Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
Richard Galliano “Vivaldi” Richard Galyanó (Soviet music lover, stop calling the musician “Richard Galyano”!) You can listen to everything, because everything is fine. His accordion has a golden voice. Delicate, but assertively penetrating directly beneath the skin. Galliano is actually a very respected jazz musician, if not purely jazz. In fact, even a real symbol of French jazz. But then he picked up and played Vivaldi’s “Seasons” – the whole cycle, all four concerts, note to note. Once upon a time in childhood, I heard the Times at the Riga Dome Cathedral on an organ. It was a scrapping pattern and a brain explosion for life. But the accordion is like a mini-organ. And here the effect is even cooler. Apple.Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
Mark Anthony Turnage “Scofield: Scorched” This is a truly legendary project. The English composer – at that time young and hype – Marc-Anthony Ternage made friends with John Scofield, invited him to one of his projects, and then he wrote at all this “work based on Scofield’s plays”. And the guitarist and his trio then participated in the recording, that is, the project was authorized. After several years he wrote a whole symphony – a large-scale canvas on the themes of John Scofield’s plays. The idea itself seemed bright and defiant: Scofield’s clear, simple riffs and Ternage’s sophisticated modern classic – how do they fit together? But somehow they came together in a single canvas, which is difficult to find a genre and stylistic definition. The essence is this: modern academic music with soft dissonances, and when Scofil is connected, the orchestra “turns on” the swing. Criticism at one time reproached the project for the fact that Tranage and Scofield simply did not agree on the mood of the music, so interesting and workshop. Here met academic ice and a jazz-rock flame. How successful is a matter of taste, but Ternage’s tricks of “pulling out” a symphony from Scofield’s simple groove rhythms alone deserve attention. Apple.Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
Pierre-Laurent Aimard / Aka Pygmies, Ligeti / Reich “African Rhythms” A very clever and finely composed program. It seems to be about complex rhythms and rhythm as something self-sufficient. There are two performers: pianist Pierre Laurent-Emar and … pygmies! Academic avant-garde music alternates with African rhythms in search of a link. Minimalist composer Steve Reich really studied deeply the non-European traditions, traveled, in particular, to Ghana to study the local art of playing ethnic drums. Gyorgy Ligeti was inspired by the folklore of his native Hungary, which also has plenty of puzzling rhythms. Emar plays Ligeti with a bare sound, cold, as if the piano is a percussion instrument (by the way, according to strict classification it belongs to such – hammers!) In general, the reviewer is very tempted to exclaim: ah, music is a universal language, all of single source and so on. And close the topic. But not everything is so simple even with this album, in which the tracks are really selected with great taste and a sense of proportion. After all, all the same, the pygmies have emotion, our Europeans-Americans have math. It’s quite audible: here we count at 4, here at 7, here we will stretch the rhythm and weave a side part. And there is a gaping gap between the seemingly similar folklorists and composers.