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"Jungian unconscious collective", an apt phrase harking bark to the 'belle époque'. I absolutely love this CD. Which is odd enough in itself to invoke Jung by way of an explanation. My tastes range from Tristano to Xenakis. The era of Offenbach is not at all well represented in my music library.
If musicologists routinely believed in reincarnation there'd be a case for suggesting that Offenbach came back as Astor Piazzolla. Check out their biographies. Both feared having their music mocked by the 'conservatoire' establishment. Both succeeded, and in similar ways, to bring the highest respect upon their musical forms from aforementioned establishment figures. Why bring up Piazzolla?
The answer concerns the Trovesi/Coscia format: accordéon and wind instrument. In France, this combo is ubiquitous. And currently the renaissance in 'le neuve tango' owes much to the likes of Galliano and Portal, Jack LaBrunie and Christophe Duvernet (the latter pair not as well-known as the first).
The works of both Offenbach and Piazzolla have become, so to speak, 'motifs' for much broader cultural concerns. Respectively, the astonishing end to the 19th century, with its sudden giant steps in both the human and natural sciences, and in a troubled Argentina.
I'd be surprised if the ECM faithful, among whom I count myself, were typically connoisseurs of Offenbach's œuvre. But 'Frère Jacques' is as much about Manfred Eicher's ear for fine musicianship as it is about delighting in the intimacy of the result.
Of course, as John says, above the allusions to the 'motifs' are abundant. It shows how inescapable Offenbach is. The same evening as I bought 'Frère Jacques' I went to see LaBrunie (flute) and Christophe Duvernet (accordéon) at my local church (I live in France). It was a really first-rate performance. For me that is what is counted. The following day, a Sunday, I listened to 'Frère Jacques' over and over.
It's a simply delightful performance that perhaps leans a little over to the 'New Series' side of ECM projects. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to hear really fine musicians communicating.
Thanks, Ralph, as ever, for your insightful and thorough comments!
John, you're welcome, and thanks. Noticed you've reviewed 'Unspoken'. Bought that recently too. Might add my tuppence worth. I promise you that I'm not a species of cyber-stalker! Rest assured.
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