If you like Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata’s wonderful way with old music, you’ll love this vibrant romp through some of the most engaging music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Frescobaldi and Handel are the best known of the composers here—the latter’s “Eternal Source of Light Divine” is magically updated. Rolf Lislevand’s lute- and theorbo-playing underpins the music with boundless imagination while some decidedly 21st-century muted brass-playing seems to take us into a Baroque jazz club. But then we are whisked back across the years for a thrillingly toe-tapping Pass’e mezzo e passacalli. Irresistible.
Quiescence and awakening. Tradition and innovation. Body and soul. Rolf Kühn finds such opposing forces attractive. With his new album "Yellow + Blue", the 88-year-old clarinetist once again improvises and swings his way through uncharted musical territory. "Europe's greatest clarinetist and free spirit" (Jazzthetik) plays ballads and legendary love songs on his new MPS album. In so doing, he delivers new meaning and a fresh sound to the pieces. A sentimental look back is simply not his thing. Together with his new quartet of pianist Frank Chastenier, bassist Lisa Wulff, and percussionist Tupac Mantilla, Kühn contrasts his sensitive side with his unbridled desire to experiment.
Alfabeto is a system of notation used in music for the fivecourse (‘Baroque’) guitar. Letters of the alphabet indicated chords and the precise lefthand fingering required; the direction in which they were to be strummed was also shown. The relationship of the alfabeto letter to the musical identity of the chord was arbitrary. There was some freedom of interpretation‚ dependent on the degree of knowledge of the player. The alfabeto system also underwent ‘mixed marriage’ with the notation of the more sophisticated ‘lutelike’ punteado style in which melodic passages were plucked with the individual fingers of the right hand – and which existed separately in its own right. The choice of instrumentation and manner of performance here stem‚ the booklet tells us‚ from ‘years of work on 17thcentury repertoire‚ the result of a synthesis of musicological research and instinctive musicianship’. Lislevand is an exceptionally gifted performer and‚ as his recent recording of Bach suites shows (Naïve‚ 7/01)‚ he does not hesitate to add his own excellent embellishments.
Composer John Adams' album Road Movies contains five pieces that Adams' considers "travel music, (…) passing through harmonic and textural regions as one would pass through on a car trip." Indeed, during Leila Josefowicz's spirited and appropriately brusque reading of the "40% Swing" movement from the title work, one hears what sounds like a passing auto in the left channel. Is it mere coincidence or the album concept channeling onto the master tape?
Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin (born 1957) belongs to that school of Scandinavian composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries who are grounded in the techniques of modernism, but who employ those techniques in music that's immensely and immediately appealing to broad audiences in the directness of its emotional reach and the attractiveness of its sound. The three pieces recorded here, an orchestral work, a percussion concerto and a concerto for six percussionists, reveal a composer with an extraordinarily colorful orchestrational palette, fine sense of large musical structure, and an elemental rhythmic vitality.