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Theo Jorgensmann / Albrecht Maurer: Melencolia

Glenn Astarita By

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Melencolia is based on Abrecht Dürer's 1514 engraving by the same name, created during Germany's horrific Peasants' Wars. However, these prominent jazz and avant-garde artists unite the brighter side of life to offset some fierce interactions.

The lower register of Theo Jorgensmann's G-low clarinet synchronizes with Duo Melencolia's violin and viola phrasings, bringing the duo closer from a timbral perspective. As such, the music emerges from a similar plane and intimates a tighter soundscape with a narrowed gap between higher and lower registers.

With subtle harmonies and chirpy spikes in the action all tinted with classical overtones, Jörgensmann and Maurer craft a sprawling musical plane amid their synergistic output. As they mimic dour circumstances or transmit a laidback disposition, their framework is balanced. At times they chase the demons away or operate within undulating currents and mystifying passages. On "Part 5," Maurer imparts a touch of European folk, morphing free-jazz aspects into a maniacal chain of events, while Jörgensmann's dainty hues, circular phrasings, and linear lines are occasionally leveled with a sanctifying line of fire.

The program is defined on semi-structured song forms and a harmonious incorporation of abstruse tangents, friendly mayhem, and a mechanical mode of destruction outlined on "Melencolia Epilog." The superfluous movements or free-form burnouts do not mar the close-knit engagement. The artists align the best of many musical worlds and cast a distinct identity throughout the ebbs and flows, abetted by their sprightly artistic acumen, superior musicianship, and pioneering vision.

Track Listing: Melencolia Suite: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Melencolia Epilog.

Personnel: Theo Jorgensmann: g-low clarinet, voice; Albrecht Maurer: violin, viola, voice.

Title: Melencolia | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: NEMU Records

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