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Live Reviews

Jazz in Church 2013

By Published: April 10, 2013
In a caress of the bell with echoes that lingered in departing waves of brass, the voice of Arianna Savall arose as if announcing the beginning of a world. The violin took over the Gregorian song and Johansen's voice answered the call in a long incantation, which he then passed over to the instrument. The touch of the harp strings, like a tactile extension of Arianna's voice, was reminiscent of Saxon damsels in white castle towers. A ballad in vibrant tones regretted the lost beauty of the short Nordic summer; the touches of harp ruffled the strings like the wind bending ears of wheat. A Spanish dance in the clear sound of the mandolin, with whirls of red skirts in large flounces, and sharp taps of the foot were followed by Arianna's composition called "The Waterfall." In the caress of the harp, the crystal course of water followed the smooth voice like a current in which the inserts of the violin created clear whirls. The rhythm amplified the waves, tensing them in downfall over the stone. In St. Francis' prayer for peace the voices rose celestially inter-flowing with the delicate chords of the instruments, creating thus ethereal and eternal chants connected to the heights.

Alexander Balanescu featuring Misha Alperin

Alexander Balanescu began his violin solo with a Bach prelude that through the masculine touch of the bow, seemed to reenact the enormous complexity of the German titan. The draws of the bow tore a cry in which the wood wailed, begged, talked and faded in mute lament, a cry that immersed the nave of the church in a deep silence, pierced only by the hiss of the traffic from a world where the time kept on flowing. "Winter Variations" developed modular sequences, which through the change of register, tempo and intensity, followed the circular meanderings of a thought that doesn't leave.

"Studies for Miriam" strung together a chain of polyphonic successions excellently served by the church acoustics. The percussion attacks on the string led, through a subtler transition, towards a harmonic communion with the piano tones brought by Misha Alperin, which expanded the emotional ambitus of the interpretation. The left hand was joined by the sound of the violin in a somber tenderness. A Romanian motif acquired rock dynamics. From the minimalist accents of the piano, the violin created arches of sound in the resonance of the wood. The two musicians closed the festival in a entwining of force and expressivity that changed the state of sound and which, giving due praise to the environment, populated the silence that followed with a single thought: a marriage made in Heaven.

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