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Fragility is not usually a characteristic associated with improvised music, but the sounds on this new recording seem at times to be as delicate as fine porcelein. Il Pergolese is a highly original interpretation of works by the 18th Century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. [...] The nine tracks are inspired by Pergolesi works including the celebrated ‘Stabat Mater’, with Maria Pia De Vito’s rich and warm voice floating exquisitely over the gentle piano chords, the long, yearning cello notes, and the subtle whispers of percussion. One of the most effective tracks is ‘Chi Disse Ca la Femmena’, from Pergolesi’s musical portrait of women, ‘Lo Frate ‘nnamorato’. The theme is stated simply, but then the group doubles the tempo – the effect is almost startling – and De Vito’s voice begins a delightful sequence of punchy scatting over the lively pulse of the instruments. An absorbing album, well worth exploring.
John Watson, Jazz Camera

Voici un splendide enregistrement qu’il convient d’ajouter sans aucune hésitation à un paquet cadeaux de disques piano/voix etc...à offrir à noël ou toute autre occasion. Un disque qui plaira tant aux amateurs de musique classique, que de jazz voire de musique du monde. [...] Un très bel hommage donc qui donne bien sûr aussi envie de (ré) écouter le Stabat Mater et découvrir d’autres oeuvres de Pergolesi. Il parait que les grands spécialistes de Pergolése présents ont été enchantés du résultat et l’ont même programmés dans d’autres festivals, oui nul doute que les non spécialistes eux voudront connaître après une telle écoute l’oeuvre du compositeur inspirateur de ce magifiue disque!
Agnes Jourdain, Piano Bleu

For five minutes or so, this dedication to 18th-century Italian opera and sacred-music composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi sounds like a respectfully operatic and relatively straight tribute to its subject – then Italian drummer Michele Rabbia's muffled-hoofbeat drumming begins to edge in. Though the music regularly returns to Pergolesi's arias and passages from his Stabat Mater (handled by the classically schooled Neopolitan vocalist de Vito with understated aplomb), the early material is used as a jumping-off point for various improvisations – from the unobtrusive melodic twists of French pianist Francois Couturier and German cellist Anja Lechner, to de Vito's whoops, gasps, and scat-like squirmings. Watery sounds and ghostly cello swirls usher in Amen/Fac ut Portem; Sinfonia for Violoncello is a showcase for Lechner; Chi Disse ca la Femmena is given a suitably playful treatment by de Vito at first, before becoming an exciting uptempo chase for cello and voice. [..] both opera and improv listeners may find much to enjoy in it.
John Fordham, The Guardian

Maria Pia de Vito, Anja Lechner, Francois Couturier und Michele Rabbia gehen auf dieser CD ganz klar in Extreme. Ihre Experimente klingen mal nach Jazz, mal nach traditioneller Volksmusik, mal nach Luciano Berio. Das macht dieses Album zu einer Herausforderung für den Hörer: Mit Nebenbeihören ist es nicht getan, um wirklich etwas von 'Il Pergolese' zu haben, muss man sich in die CD verbeißen und ihre musikalische Strukturen verfolgen. Wer das tut, merkt ziemlich schnell, dass nichts auf 'Il Pergolese' willkürlich ist, keine Klangfarbe, keine tonale Abweichung und kein Stück Improvisation. Und dann ist es plötzlich doch möglich, sich in diese Musik einfach fallen zu lassen, denn wenn die Hürden einmal überwunden sind, wird klar: Die vier Musiker begegnen den technischen Herausforderungen von Pergolesis Musik nicht nur mit Selbstbewusstsein und absoluter Perfektion, vor allem zelebrieren sie ihren Einfallsreichtum und ihre Schönheit.
Desiree Löffler, WDR 3

The musicians participating in this experiment bring together a relatively unconventional set of resources. On the one hand there are pianist François Couturier and cellist Anja Lechner, who have background in performing chamber music together (and recording their performances on ECM New Series). They are joined by percussionist Michele Rabbia, who also controls electronics, primarily in the form of samples of ‘concrete’ sound, and Neapolitan vocalist Maria Pia De Vito, who sings in Neapolitan, rather than the published source text. Much of the music on this album is the product of improvisations by these four musicians. [...] These pieces are decidedly not performances of Pergolesi refracted through a jazzy rhetoric, in the manner, for example, of past efforts by The Swingle Singers. Indeed, they are not so much performances of Pergolesi at all as they are the exploration of fragments of his music through the improvisatory skills provided by each of the performers. One might say that these improvisations allow one to listen to Pergolesi as he might be examined through the auditory version of a kaleidoscope.
Stephen Smoliar,