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February 4 , 2011

The first quarter

ECM begins 2011 with a characteristically wide-ranging programme, vaulting across the borders of the style categories. If the focus is on European artists and composers in the first three months of the year, the tenor of their recordings is, frequently, universal.

January releases immediately touched diverse compass points: Sardinian improviser Paulo Fresu bringing his Miles and Chet Baker inflected trumpet into the context of Corsican vocal polyphony on “Mistico Mediterraneo”, and Cymin Samawatie and her multi-cultural chamber jazz band Cyminology reflecting upon events in Iran (“Saburi”). Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjornstad launched a new duo with Swedish cellist Svante Henryson (“Night Song”), and the Swiss Trio Colin Vallon with Patrice Moret and Samuel Rohrer, presented improvising influenced by music of the Balkans on their ECM debut (“Rruga”). On the New Series, German born and Rome-based pianist Alexander Lonquich illuminated musical and temperamental connections between Robert Schumann and Heinz Holliger.

Now in February Norway’s Trio Mediaeval investigate music from an English monastery on “A Worcester Ladymass”, and the Austrian/German duo of Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Kilius take a tour of modern music on “Manto and Madrigal”, performing Scelsi, Skalkottas, Bartók, Martinu, Maxwell Davies, Holliger and more. And on the jazz front come two significant “follow-ups” from composer-pianists, Finland’s Iro Haarla and Germay’s Julia Hülsmann, each with a second leader date on ECM: respectively, “Vespers” and “Imprint”.

In March, Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick, already featured on Haarla’s disc, brings his own band to the fore on “Skala”, and French pianist François Couturier and colleagues Anja Lechner, Jean-Marc Larché and Jean-Lous Matinier reconvene as the “Tarkovsky Quartet.”

German clarinettist-composer Jörg Widmann, recently heard as soloist on Erkki-Sven Tüür’s “Noesis”, has a disc dedicated to his works for instrumental forces large and small, with contributions from Heinz Holliger, Christoph Poppen and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie.

And ECM’s March releases are completed with revelatory performances of Tchaikovsky and Kissine from an extraordinary trio with Latvian master-violinist Gidon Kremer, Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and Lithuanian cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite…

More details here "ECM First Quarter 2011" as pdf.