Gianluigi Trovesi / Gianni Coscia: Frere Jacques - Round About Offenbach

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Gianluigi Trovesi / Gianni Coscia: Frere Jacques - Round About Offenbach Once again, more than half a decade has gone by since clarinetist GIanluigi Trovesi and accordionist Gianni Coscia last recorded. Round About Weill (ECM, 2005) represented a shift away from the broader compositional purview of In cerca di cibo (ECM, 2000), instead focusing more monolithically—albeit with the improvisational élan which has defined this partnership from its inception still intact—on misunderstood 20th century composer Kurt Weill. With Frère Jacques: Round About Offenbach , the Italian duo with one octogenarian (Coscia) and one near-septuagenarian (Trovesi) tackles the music of Jacques Offenbach, with a similar modus operandi: interpret the 19th century Cologne-born/French composer's music with a playful combination of respect and irreverence, while creating spontaneous improvisations and collaborative compositions that act as causative links.

If "the same modus operandi" suggests predictability, however, there's no cause for concern. Frère Jacques: Round About Offenbach is a 75-minute set of nineteen pieces, ranging from eighty seconds to seven-and-a-half minutes, where some of the music may be so iconic as to be part of a Jungian collective unconscious, but breathed into new life with the combination of two wind-driven reed instruments that may possess distinct qualities but, at times, conjoin to create a most singular voice.

If Trovesi and Coscia demonstrate plenty of the endemic mischief of their Italian upbringing, it's never at the expense of unadorned beauty. "Dedicated to Hélène and her little birds" may begin fervently, with Coscia's accordion in clear support of Trovesi, whose soaring clarinet and occasional flittering motifs evoke clear images of the titular fowl, but halfway through the mood turns more melancholic, as Coscia's minor-keyed musings encourage Trovesi to simplify, even as the two gradually begin to orbit around each other with the kind of keen intuition that only comes from years of working together.

The duo adapts some of Offenbach's better-known works, such as pieces from his unfinished opera Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Tales of Hoffman), and La Belle Hélène, from which three pieces are drawn, in addition to the original "Dedicated to Hélène." And if Offenbach's "Galop," from Orpheus in the Underworld, isn't given full credit, the familiar dance song of the can-can certainly forms the foundation for "Galop...trotterllando," a Trovesi/Coscia original which possesses everything that make this duo so accessible yet so unfailingly deep—most importantly, an unfettered interpretive spontaneity that causes scored music to leap off the written page.

If Round About Weill's reference to the traditional French round "Frère Jacques" was a less-than-obvious hint at what was to come four years later, when Trovesi and Coscia recorded Frère Jacques: Round About Offenbach at Perugia, Italy's Centro Civico Musicale Sant'Anna, who knows what foreshadowing exists here? The only certainty is a hope that another half decade doesn't have to pass before Trovesi and Coscia reunite for another set that combines freewheeling and infectious joie de vivre with an equally unmistakable love of the music from which they choose to draw their inspiration—whatever the source.

Visit Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia on the web.

Track Listing: Sognando Hélène / Oui! C'est un rêve; Ah! Que les homes sont bêtes / Mon Dieu, mon Dieu; Piff, paff, pouf / La Duchessa nei caraibi; Tangoffenbach; Ah! Vivre deux / L'eccentrico inventore; Et moi? / No, tu no!; La voix; Parton le barcarole; Beguine del fauno; Sei Italiano? / No! Je suis Brésilien; La Duchessa della Czarda; C'est une chanson d'amour; Galop...trotterellando; Le jugement de Paris / Ma! Non so!; Dedicated to Hélène and her little birds; Metamorfosi...Pour séduire; Minuetto / Olympia; Ouverture / Un Americano a Troia; Epilogue.

Personnel: Gianluigi Trovesi: piccolo and alto clarinets; Gianni Coscia: accordion.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz

Related Video


More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Etchings in Amber" CD/LP/Track Review Etchings in Amber
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!