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August 16 , 2013

Reviews of the Week

Acclaim from a German reviewer for the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble’s musical vision on Outstairs

Archaik, Folk und Avantgarde gehen eine berückende Liaison ein. Zum wesentlichen strukturgebenden Element werden Pause und Stille. Eben Harmonium und Hardangerfiedel wird man von Trompete und Tenorsax ein zünftiges Jazzsolo gar nicht erst erwarten. Improvisiert wird hier mit Klängen – bis zur Unhörbarkeit.
Berthold Klostermann, Fono Forum

The ECM debut of Swiss-Italian trio Third Reel is praised on London Jazz

The two opening tracks of ‘Third Reel’ neatly represent the yin and yang of the trio’s stylistic approach: guitarist Roberto Pianca’s ‘After All’, an ‘exploration of chordal colours’ (saxophonist/clarinettist Nicolas Masson’s description), is immediately followed by drummer Emanuele Maniscalco’s ‘Furious Seasons’, an appropriately turbulent, almost grungy piece that transforms the band into a (tasteful) power trio. Between these two extremes lies a lot of musical territory, and Third Reel (conceived from the outset as a bass-less trio – ‘more responsibility for each player, as well as more risk-taking’ is Masson’s explanation for this) explore a great deal of it on this, their debut (eponymous) album. Although the instrumentation brings the superb trio formed by Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano to mind (and the odd Third Reel track does feature Lovanoesque smoky, warbling tenor against Frisell-like guitar flickering and swooning), the Swiss/Italian trio is more firmly rooted in free music than its illustrious US predecessor [...] overall ‘Third Reel’ is as original as it is absorbing, richly rewarding repeated immersion into its highly individual sonic world.
Chris Parker, London Jazz

German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung on the box set Selected Signs - Music selected for the exhibition ECM - A Cultural Archaeology at Haus der Kunst Munich

Eicher und sein Mitstreiter Steve Lake hatten eine Reihe von Musikprogrammen produziert, die den flanierenden Ausstellungsbesucher zur Einkehr unter Kopfhörer einlud. Als 'Selected Signs' sind sie jetzt in einer 6-CD-Box gebündelt erschienen. Ein beiliegender Text stellt fest, dass dies nicht der Soundtrack der Ausstellung sei, sondern eine Weiterung und Alternative. Selten wird an das Konzept der Ausstellung angeknüpft, wenn etwa Steve Reich, Meredith Monk oder Egberto Gismonti zu hören sind, doch durchmessen diese dramaturgisch äußerst stimmig kompilierten 'Mixtapes' ein ungleich weiteres Feld. Hier trifft Heiner Goebbels auf György Kurtág, Colin Vallon auf Christian Wallumröd. Was passiert, wenn die Filmmusik von Andrej Dergatchev auf Molvaers 'Khmer' trifft? Colemans 'Lonely Woman' auf Robin Williamsons keltischen Folk? Welch ein Kosmos, der hier souverän ausgeschritten wird.
Ulrich Kriest, Stuttgarter Zeitung

The London Times salutes the Ensemble Belcanto’s take on medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum

It’s unlikely that her ‘Ordo Virtutum’ – charting a soul’s struggle with evil in Gregorian plainchant – has ever been interpreted like this. Sounding more like Stockhausen than sacred medieval music, this performance incorporates whispers, screams and a multiplicity of sonic layers. Different and stimulating.
Richard Morrison, The Times

The Huffington Post on the music of Dobrinka Tabakova as recorded on String Paths

ECM have swooped down on 32-year old Dobrinka Tabakova with a hypnotic Cello Concerto and a Rameau-channeling Suite in Old Style for viola and chamber orchestra. The expressive range is riveting, piercingly beautiful and frequently radiant, and each of the pieces reveals an ingenious use of instrumental resources that enable the composer to paint with broad strokes. The performances by Janine Jansen and friends are brilliant and committed.
Laurence Vittes, Huffington Post

Valentin Silvestrov's Sacred Songs enchant the reviewer from Music Web International

The Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov may have come late to choral music, but this disc - the latest in ECM’s series devoted to the composer - brings together his ‘a cappella’ pieces written in 2006 and 2007. Appropriately enough the magnificent Kiev Chamber Choir, who also are featured in ‘Sacred Works’ (ECM 2117), are recorded in the cathedral that forms part of St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev. [...]
Hugely refined, darkly sonorous and lit from within as if by an ancient light, this choir imbues Silvestrov’s modern settings with a powerful sense of the vast and venerable. [...] This CD represents a perfect storm in that sublime music, first-rate singing and an exemplary recording conspire to create a very special disc indeed. That’s before one factors in good liner-notes by Paul Griffiths and packaging that exudes quality. Normally I’d grumble about the lack of sung texts, but that seems churlish in the presence of such all-pervading artistry. Nourishing repertoire, ravishingly sung; a balm for the heart and soul.
Dan Morgan, Music Web International

British magazine Jazzwise gives the monastery St. Gerold credit for the atmosphere on Night Sessions by the Dowland Project

The skilful troupe take their inspiration from often miniscule amounts of medieval or slightly later notation and weave fresh ideas resourcefully around their often slender and highly diverse resources: for instance ‘Theoleptus 22’ is constructed out of Byzantine chant while ‘Can vei la lauzeta mover’ is a 12th-century love song. Improvisation is at the core of the project, so the presence of a first-rate jazzer like John Surman alongside an early-music expert like Stephen Stubbs shouldn’t surprise: ‘Man in the Moon’ is an engagingly out-there mixture of moodily skittering instrumental invention and declamatory vocal which demonstrates what the different traditions can can cook up together. Even if the music isn’t – and doesn’t aim to be – ‘authentic’, there’s plenty of evocative, acoustical period feel courtesy of the St. Gerold monastery in the Austrian Alps, which hosted the sessions.
Robert Shore, Jazzwise