Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Anja Lechner / François Couturier: Moderato cantabile

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
On Moderato Cantabile cellist Anja Lechner and pianist Francois Couturier interpret music that is simultaneously spiritual and folklore-ish with supple eloquence and sophisticated vibrancy. Intermixed with works from Greco-Russian guru George Gurdjieff, Armenian musicologist Komitas and Spanish composer Federico Mompou are Couturier's own jazz inflected pieces that maintain the overall mystical theme of the release.

Gurdjieff was not a formerly trained musician. Most of his oeuvre, therefore, consists of central Asian folk melodies infused with his own ethereal esoterism that he hummed from memory for composer Thomas de Hartmann to write down and harmonize. Lechner and Couturier make Gurdjieff's four hymns shimmer with an eastern lyricism as they overlap lilting, melancholic phrases weaving them into multi-textured sublime poetry. On "Hymn #8 Night Procession" for instance, Couturier's cascading notes envelope Lechner's resonant strings. Her cello's mellifluous and intimate chant fills the dramatic ambience that Couturier creates with his percussive chords.

Komitas, an ordained priest and musical scholar, was the first to notate many secular Armenian folk songs, bringing to them a sacred undercurrent. One of these "Chinar Es" is performed with a creative modernism without losing sight of its timeless essence. Couturier's rhythmic refrains form a pastoral backdrop for Lechner, whose strings dance with an exquisite mélange of wistfulness and joyful abandon.

Couturier's own cinematic tunes bring a subtle but definite improvisational rigor to the recording. The intense "Soleil Rouge" evolves into an atmospheric crystallize jazzy solo while "Papillons"' angular structure features Lechner's flittering lines filled with hints of thrilling dissonance.

Impressionistic composer Mompou's deceptively simple and elegant opus is infused with an exquisite minimalism and Catalan traditional motifs. His "Impresiones Intimas #8, Secreto" for example is intimately emotive and intriguingly cerebral. Lechner's pizzicato tones alternate with Couturier's sparse chiming keys creating an expectant and mysterious mood. Her elegiac reverberations and his hypnotic echoing vamps lay down a captivating, empyrean yet a deeply visceral melody

On this uniquely superb and compelling disc Lechner and Couturier have brought together gems from artistic heritages on the edges of the western classical canon and shed a distinctly 21st century light on them. The result makes for an enchanting and inspirational listening experience and an album that delights anew with each spin.

Track Listing: Sayyid chant and dance no. 3 / Hymn no. 7; Voyage; Chinar es; Canción y danza VI; Música Callada XXVIII / Impresiones intimas I; Soleil rouge; Papillons; Hymn no. 8 / Night procession; No. 11 / Fêtest lointaines no. 3; Impresiones intimas VIII "Secreto."

Personnel: Anja Lechner: violoncello; François Couturier: piano.

Title: Moderato cantabile | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "IL Y A" CD/LP/Track Review IL Y A
by John Eyles
Published: February 15, 2018
Read "Heart Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Tunes
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 3, 2018
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 4, 2018
Read "Those Were the Days" CD/LP/Track Review Those Were the Days
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 9, 2018