June 22 , 2006
The following discs are due from ECM and ECM New Series in late August/early September, the first releases in our exceptional Fall 2006 programme... More details soon about the full schedule.
Stefano Bollani piano
“Piano solo” is a modest title for this encylopaedic recital that romps through the history of jazz and more, and which, in its rapid-fire, quick-witted turnover of ideas, reveals a unique musical personality. Italian pianist Bollani (born 1972) is a major talent, armed with prodigious technique. A taste of this will already have been gleaned from his contributions to Enrico Rava’s “Easy Living” and “Tati” but here his imagination roams widely indeed. Bollani plays a Scott Joplin rag, improvises freely, plays tango music from the early 20th century, plays standards, plays his own compositions. He plays the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Talk” and tunes made famous by Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. He improvises on a theme from Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto... And: he makes this whirlwind journey through the genres seem both logical and necessary. A disc like no other solo album in ECM’s catalogue, this is a recording that will garner a great deal of attention.
Nostalghia — Song for Tarkovsky
François Couturier piano
Anja Lechner violoncello
Jean-Marc Larché soprano saxophone
Jean-Louis Matinier accordion
French pianist François Couturier offers an hommage to the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Couturier: “I have tried to represent specific emotions linked to the universe of this director – to his films, of course, but also to some of his favourite actors or composers. Or even to the very original way he plays with shades of colour.” A most imaginative tribute, ideally suited to ECM’s widescreen production aesthetics, “Nostalghia - Song for Tarkovsky”, provides an apt musical corollary to the director’s work . Most of the music is composed by Couturier, periodically drawing inspiration from Bach, Pergolesi and Alfred Schnittke. But there is also space for improvisation. Unusual band line-up brings together Couturier , accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier and saxophonist Jean-Marc Larché (all of whom have been appeared on ECM discs by Anouar Brahem) together with Rosamunde Quartet cellist Anja Lechner. If initial reactions to the group’s first concert appearances are an index, “Notalghia” will be one of the offbeat hits of Fall 2006.
Tomasz Stanko Quartet
Tomasz Stanko trumpet
Marcin Wasilewski piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz double-bass
Michal Miskiewicz drums
Third installment in the sequence of exceptional quartet albums that began with “Soul of Things” and continued with “Suspended Night”. “This is the best one yet,” says trumpeter Stanko. “Everything about the process was creative. We changed the studio [recording in the South of France instead of Oslo], the band was in top form – we had just come off a long Asian tour. And by now I expect the unexpected when I record with Manfred, but I was really pleased with what came out of the session. Freer than the other albums, it says more about my roots.” Extended group improvisations sustain and develop the climate established by Stanko’s very soulful new ballads, and the group also delivers a new arrangement of Krzysztof Komeda’s “Kattorna” and a version of “Tale” - first heard on Tomasz’s ECM debut “Balladyna” more than 30 years ago.
On the wing
sattar, mudbedsh, classical guitar, nay, shô, hné, suling, Tibetan cymbals, Korean gong, Burmese gong, hang, 14-string guitar, steel string guitar, shakuhachi, mandobahar, sitar solo
Since his very early records Stephan Micus has been searching the world for unfamiliar instruments and new sonorities, combining reeds, strings and percussion instruments from different geographical areas and cultural backgrounds, instruments which have rarely, if ever, previously been played in ensemble. The mudbedsh for example, the Iraqi single reed instrument, can be heard here together with the bowed sattar of the Uigurs, a Turkman people from Western China. Micus’ 17th ECM album also includes a return to the sitar, an instrument he has not featured on disc for three decades. Ten new compositions for a total of 16 instruments, underline the individuality of Micus’ idiosyncratic transcultural music.
Elegy of the Uprooting
Concert Recording, Athens – March 2005
ECM New Series 1952/53
A remarkable concert recording from the Athens Concert Hall offers an epic journey through Eleni Karaindrou’s works for stage and screen, in the company of a large cast of musicians: orchestra, choir, traditional instruments ensemble, soloists, singer Maria Farantouri, and the composer herself on the piano. Repertoire includes her sweepingly melodic compositions from The Weeping Meadow, Trojan Women, Ulysses’ Gaze, The Suspended Step of the Stork, Eternity and a Day, Landscape in the Mist, The Beekeper and more, all lovingly recreated in the presence of a passionately enthusiastic hometown audience. More than “recreated” in fact. The pieces are reworked into a new, larger cycle, as connections between Karaindrou’s past and present are explored.
Frank-Peter Zimmermann/Heinrich Schiff
Johann Sebastian Bach
ECM New Series 1912
Frank-Peter Zimmermann violin
Heinrich Schiff violoncello
The first New Series appearance for two master-musicians, German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and Austrian cellist Heinrich Schiff, has resulted in a vividly expressive and engaged recital disc addressing a centuries-spanning range of music. Zimmermann and Schiff, chamber music partners for many years now, have achieved a very close understanding - immediately apparent whether they are playing Bach canons with a dancing drive or slow-diving into the mysterious, etiolated textures of ‘Study I for Treatise on the Veil’, written in 2004 by young German composer Matthias Pintscher. Performances of Honegger’s 1932 Sonatine, Martinu’s 1927 Duo, and Ravel’s 1922 Sonata – pieces of extreme polyphonic complexity – are both dazzling and uplifting.
ECM New Series 1967
Andrea Lauren Brown soprano
Christoph Poppen violin
Thomas Demenga violoncello
Thomas Larcher piano
To date, Thomas Larcher’s energetic activities as interpretative pianist, festival director, teacher and enthusiastic proselytizer for new music have overshadowed his compositional achievements. But the picture is changing as musicians increasingly embrace the challenges posed by his works. As Rosamunde Quartet violinist Andreas Reiner has remarked: “Playing his work for the first time we realized that his music possessed an unsurpassable quality. Everything fits: true and profound emotion, all conventionality scrapped without abandoning form, a delight in rage, great silences and lines, absurdity and beauty living, magically connected, side by side. Masterpieces of the quartet repertoire.” Encouraged by the composer, the Rosamunde Quartet delivers powerful, rigorous performances of “Ixxu” and “Cold Farmer”. Larcher himself plays piano on “Mumien” , (joined by long-time associate Thomas Demenga) and on “My illness is the medicine I need” (with Demenga, Christoph Poppen on violin, and soprano Andrea Lauren Brown). Throughout: music of great concentration, played with conviction.
ECM New Series 1959
Alexei Lubimov piano
Alexander Trostiansky violin
Kyrill Rybakov clarinet
Superb chamber music recording with Alexei Lubimov’s new trio. The Russian pianist joined by colleagues Alexander Trostiansky (violin) and Kyrill Rybakov (clarinet), plays music by three of the defining figures of Soviet era and post-Soviet composition – Ukraine’s Valentin Silvestrov, Estonia’s Arvo Pärt , and Galina Ustvolskaya from St Petersburg. The disc begins with Silvestrov’s “Post scriptum” for violin and piano, with Lubimov’s touch as magically limpid as on the critically-lauded “Metamusik”. “Misterioso” is a dark and technically challenging work for clarinet. At the centre of the recording is a new version of Pärt’s much-loved “Spiegel im Spiegel”, in the arrangement for clarinet and piano. And the album is concluded with Ustvolskaya’ s flinty Clarinet Trio and Sonata for violin and piano – works already more than half a century old, yet still compelling in their austerity –, works whose influence Shostakovich acknowledged.