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Francois Couturier: Tarkovsky Quartet

Nenad Georgievski By

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Francois Couturier: Tarkovsky Quartet Rarely has any other person had such an immense influence on world culture as the late Russian film director Andrey Tarkovsky. His meditations on spirituality and the human soul have brought many a step closer in their journey towards the light. As any luminary whose work and thoughts have inspired countless others, Tarkovsky—besides being a composer for the eye—has also inspired music for the ear. Plenty of artists—including Jan Garbarek, Arvo Part, Jon Hassell, Luigi Nono and Toru Takemitsu—have found inspiration in his films, or have dedicated music in his memory. Among them is pianist François Couturier, whose work with Tarkovsky Quartet completes a trilogy of albums devoted to this filmmaker.

The music on this album, with its suite-like sequence of compositions that flow like a cinematic reverie, comes across as a film-like invitation to a voyage. The spare, gently unfolding and intensely atmospheric melodies and moods deliver an invitation to listen with open ears...and to dream. What began with Nostalghia: Song for Tarkovsky (ECM, 2006) and continued with the solo piano of Un jour si blanc (ECM, 2009) has reached its culmination on this third outing. Each composition is a mysterious, delicate gem, while the titles are full of references to Tarkovsky's life and work: "A celui qui a vu l'ange" is the epitaph found on his tombstone, while "Tiapa" and "Maroussia" are nicknames for his youngest child and his mother.

The music requires and deserves profound attention, in order that the natural flow of ideas emerge from the silence. Throughout, the musicians enter into a dialog that is very intense and focused regardless of the music and the space. On the surface it may sound simply like contemplative music, but its hypnotic quality and richness of detail is revealed upon close and patient listening.

Many ECM recordings are as much about inner landscapes they are outer terrains. As a label, it stands for a certain meditative, introspective approach to playing and listening, and Tarkovski Quartet goes right to the core of its ethos, predicated, as it is, on honesty, trust and on the quality of human relationships. Ultimately, Couturier has delivered a wondrous offering with compositions that open a path to a secret world.


Track Listing: A celui qui a vu l'ange; Tiapa; San Galgano; Maroussia; Mychkine; Mouchette; La passion selon Andreï; L'Apocalypse; Doktor Faustus; Sardor; La main et l'oiseau; De l'autre côté du miroir.

Personnel: François Couturier: piano; Anja Lechner: violoncello; Jean Louis Matinier: accordion; Jean Marc Larché: soprano saxophone.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ECM Records


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