Franz von Chossy Quintet: When The World Comes Home (2012)
If there is one big story that can genuinely be said to have made the front pages since the dawn of time, it's the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. Artists, poets, novelists, dramatists and composers have all sought to put their own perspectives on the tale. The latest in a line that stretches back into antiquity is German pianist/composer Franz von Chossy, who takes the story as the subject for a nine-part suite, When The World Comes Home, that is full of imaginative and, at times, extremely beautiful music.
Von Chossy runs his own trio as well as this quintet, and is a member of the Pascal Schumacher Quartet, led by vibraphonist Schumacher, Arifa (along with this quintet's clarinetist, Alex Simu) and the Felix Schlarmann Group. Alongside this busy schedule as a player, he has a developing reputation as a composer, a reputation which When The World Comes Home can only enhance.
Von Chossy's music is given life by his quintet of talented musicians. Its distinctive lineup, of clarinet, piano, violin, cello and drums, and serves to create some unusual harmonies and tonal colorsthe combination of Simu's clarinet and Jeffrey Bruinsma's violin in the front line gives the tunes a fragile and ethereal quality that wouldn't be possible, were saxophones or brass to be used instead.
Knowledge of When The World Comes Home's subject matter might lead to an expectation of rather gloomy, downbeat music. Von Chossy defies such expectation, however, by emphasizing romanticism and beauty on many of the tracks. On "The Salt Companion," one of the album's key tracks, this romance comes from the contrast between Yonga Sun's driving percussion and the flowing lines emanating from Bruinsma's violin and Jorg Brinkmann's cello. "Eternal Elephant" gains its own more dreamlike beauty from the interplay between Von Chossy, Bruinsma and Brinkmann, while "Victoria Line" mixes an up-tempo urgency with slower, more reflective, sections, both of which feature some fine playing from Simu, Bruinsma and Von Chossy.
That's not to say that there is no despondency or darkness. "Human Dark With Sugar" is certainly dark and melancholy; "Along the River" evokes a certain sadness too, albeit within a particularly graceful melody. The title track draws the romance and the sadness together, as the quintet brings When The World Comes Home to a hauntingly beautiful close.
Track Listing: Perpetual Lights; Steps Of The Sun; Human Dark With Sugar; Along The River; The Salt Companion; Eternal Elephant; Victoria Line; Dust And Diamonds; When The World Comes Home.
Personnel: Franz Von Chossy: piano; Alex Simu: clarinet, electronics; Jeffrey Bruinsma: violin; Jörg Brinkmann: cello; Yonga Sun: drums, percussion.