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Image After The Fall
The group colloquially known as “the Standards trio” has made many outstanding recordings, and "After The Fall" must rank with the very best of them. “I was amazed to hear how well the music worked,” writes Keith Jarrett in his liner note. “For me, it’s not only a historical document, but a truly great concert.” This perfor-mance – in Newark, New Jersey in November 1998 – marked Jarrett’s return to the concert stage after a two year hiatus. Joined by improvising partners Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, he glides and soars through classics of the Great American Songbook including “The Masquerade Is Over”, “Autumn Leaves”, “When I Fall In Love” and “I’ll See You Again”. There are also breath-taking accounts of hallowed bebop tunes including Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple FromThe Apple”, Bud Powell’s “Bouncin’ With Bud” and Sonny Rollins’s “Doxy”.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image The Carnegie Hall Concert
Stereophile, Record of the month
Jazzman, Événement
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik / Bestenliste 1/2007
Fono Forum, Empfehlungen des Monats
Stereo, CD des Monats


One of the most wide-ranging of all Keith Jarrett's performances, "The Carnegie Hall Concert" almost amounts to an autobiographical portrait of the great improviser. Each of his two sets takes the form of a suite of songs, some intensely lyrical, others angular, turbulent, or probing. And the encores - no less than five of them - touch upon the blues and boogie-woogie, upon standard material ("Time On My Hands"), and even offer a new perspective on "My Song", written for the Scandinavian 'Belonging' quartet and first recorded by Jarrett in 1977.

Keith Jarrett, piano

Recorded September 2005


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Mnemosyne
Five years after the recording of "Officium", the Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek returned to the monastery of St Gerold to renew, in the words of singer John Potter, their "encounter with the unknown." The resultant, very beautiful, double-album, "Mnemosyne", is wider in scope than its predecessor, and the improvised component of the music is expanded. Repertoire now spans 22 centuries, from the "Delphic Paean" of Athenaeus to the "Estonian Lullaby" of Veljo Tormis, via folk song fragments from North and South America and Spain, freely developed, as well as pieces by Tallis, Dufay, Brumel, Hildegard von Bingen, Jan Garbarek, a Russian psalm, a Scottish ballad of the 16th century, and much more. "We did it for each other in the absence of an audience, and these are complete one-off performances which will never sound the same again."

Jan Garbarek, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

The Hilliard Ensemble:
David James, countertenor
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
John Potter, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone

Recorded April 1998


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Musica Selecta
Arvo Pärt and Manfred Eicher have maintained their creative partnership for more than thirty years. Eicher launched ECM New Series in 1984 as a platform for Pärt's music, bringing the Estonian composer to the world's attention with the album Tabula Rasa. Since that epochal release, all first recordings of Pärt's major works have been made for ECM, with the composer's committed participation. This association between composer and record producer is, as Paul Griffiths has noted, "an example of loyalty and collegiality unique in our time."

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Six Partitas
4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I DAGENS NYHETER

4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I NERIKES ALLEHANDA

"Efter sina uppmärksammade inspelningar av Ludwig van Beethovens samtliga sonater har András Schiff kommit till ett annat av musikhistoriens mäktigaste verk. J S Bachs sex partitor för klaverinstrument som är ett fascinerande utforskande av den franska sviten, en av 1700-talets viktigaste flersatsiga former. En nästan overklig upphöjelse av en musik som från början baserades på enkla dansformer som allemande, courante, saraband, gavott och jig. Och som Schiff tar sig an med samma prövande temperant och blixtrande klarhet som i Beethoven. Sex partitor på raken kan tyckas mastigt. Men variationerna är nästan oändliga så det blir aldrig enahanda. I synnerhet inte när Schiffs slängighet och skärpa i de lite mera drömska satserna (särskilt i allemanderna) får Bach att låta lite som jazzgeniet Bill Evans."
(Dagens Nyheter)

His interpretive approach eludes definition. An artful blend of intuition and analysis has gone into his preparation. Yet the results are constantly surprising.
(Anthony Tommasini, reviewing Schiff's Carnegie Hall recitals with late Beethoven sonatas in the New York Times, April 2009)

- András Schiff's new live-recording of some of the most beautiful piano music by Johann Sebastian Bach

- "András Schiff is probably the most ingenious and resourceful performer of Bach on the modern piano around today."
(San Francisco Chronicle)

- Schiff's playing on stage combines spontaneity and intellectual depth, ravishing sound with flawless technical finish

- Follow up to Schiff's hugely successful Goldberg variations from Basel

- The booklet includes an extensive essay on the recorded repertoire and a peformer's note by András Schiff

The Music
Following last year's completion of his highly-praised Beethoven cycle András Schiff returns to Bach with a superb interpretation of the six "Partitas". It was recorded live in September 2007 at Neumarkt Reitstadl, one of the best piano music venues in Europe. The cycle, which in 1731 was the first group of works to be published by Bach himself, represents a unique stylistic synthesis of the suite form with a particular emphasis on most varied and imaginative opening movements. In his 1802 biography of Bach, Nikolaus Forkel famously wrote that "such splendid compositions for the clavier had not been seen or heard before... so brilliant, harmonious, expressive and constantly novel are they." Compared to his London studio recording of 1983 this second rendering on disc demonstrates Schiff's stylistic development towards more freedom, sonic depth and sheer pleasure of phrasing. In his personal note for the present recording Schiff writes: "I made my first recording of Bach's six partitas a quarter of a century ago, in London's Kingsway Hall in 1983. Since then I've continued to study his great keyboard works and often performed them in cycles. Conducting the St. Matthew Passion and the B-minor Mass several times were experiences that have left an indelible mark on my piano performances: we frequently find dance movements in Bach's church music, and his instrumental works were often inspired by his sacred compositions." Schiff's rather unorthodox sequence of partitas - 5 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 4 - 6 - draws an ascending line of keys leading from G major to e minor and reflects a long experience with the pieces on stage.

Artist Background
András Schiff, born in Budapest in 1953, puts a strong focus on cyclic performances of the important piano works by the masters from Bach to Bártok. His wide-ranging discography on ECM includes works by Janácek, Schubert, Bach, Schumann, Mozart abd many others. Schiff's most ambitious project to date, the complete Beethoven sonata cycle in more than 15 major musical centers worldwide. was finished in April with two triumphant recitals in New York's Carnegie Hall. Betweem 2005 to 2008 the Beethoven sonatas were released in eight volumes on ECM New Series to enormous critical acclaim.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Radiance
Jazzman, Choc
Le Monde de la Musique, Choc
Télérama, 4 clés
Jazz Magazine, Disque d'émoi
Classica - Répertoire, R10
Les Inrockuptibles, Ecouté et Approuvé
Piano Magazine, Coup de cœur
Audio, Jazz-CD des Monats / Klangtipp
Stereoplay, Klangtipp


Radiance bears out an oft-quoted early statement of Keith Jarrett's: "The best improvisations I know of are always made when you have no ideas. If an improviser can get ideas out of his head that are possessing his ability to flow, then he can keep playing and keep making music. I don't even have a seed when I start. The solo concert is like another world that has its own rules that I didn't make up."

Keith Jarrett, piano

Recorded October 2002



kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Resonance
Manfred Schoof: trumpet, flugelhorn; Michel Pilz: bass clarinet; Jasper Van't Hof: piano, electric piano, organ; Rainer Brüninghaus: piano, synthesizer; Günter Lenz: double-bass; Ralf Hübner: drums (collective personnel)

The first CD issue of music from Manfred Schoof's three ECM/Japo albums of the 1970s - "Scales", "Light Lines", and "Horizons". "Resonance" is the German trumpeter's personal compilation of his favourite music from this era, released as two CD set. Schoof's quintet was a highly regarded band on the European scene of the 1970s, and the "Scales" LP won the German Critics Prize as Album of the Year (Grosser Deutscher Schallplattenpreis 1977). At the time, both Schoof and frontline partner Michel Pilz were also members of Alex Schlippenbach's freewheeling Globe Unity Orchestra (indeed Schoof still plays with the GUO periodically) and also recorded for ECM/Japo with that formation (see the albums "Improvisations" and "Compositions"). The blueprint for the quintet was to re-integrate lessons learned in free playing into melodically-intense small group jazz. Manfred Schoof "The 1970s, when these recordings were made, gave many musicians the opportunity to expand a scale of musical expression that originated from the free jazz of the 1960s. This led to a new kind of playing that did not hesitate to use and combine different means of expression - a process exemplified by the present recordings. The music on these CDs is contemporary and free in the best sense of these words; more so, it is timeless. Here the term "free" not only stands for a specific style of jazz that, in its beginnings, opposed with revolutionary gesture everything redolent of the past and reminiscent of tradition but rather the freedom to choose between a multitude of very different means of expression. Tradition, therefore, is viewed as a past experience that merges with and enriches a new style of sound." Schoof showcased some exceptional talent in his band. Michel Pilz was, in the era, the only European improviser who had committed himself exclusively to the bass clarinet. Inspired initially by Eric Dolphy, he developed his own distinctive sound, playing inside the ensemble textures as well as soloing with energy and imagination. Günter Lenz and Ralf R. Hübner helped to define the direction of modern jazz in Germany. Both bassist and drummer were members of Albert Mangelsdorff's pioneering groups of the 1960s and their detailed interaction is crucial to the buoyancy of the Schoof quintet sound. Lenz can also be heard on ECM with the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Hübner with Eberhard Weber on "The Colours of Chloe" and "Chorus". Together, for decades, they powered the rhythm section of the Jazzensemble des Hessischen Rundfunks - see the ECM album "Atmospheric Conditions Permitting". The pianists in the Schoof group were players of the next generation. Dutch keyboardist Jasper van't Hof came to Schoof after playing with Pierre Courbois's Association PC and the collective Pork Pie, which also included Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine, in a time when rock and jazz were influencing each other. A change of Schoof personnel in 1979 brought Rainer Brüninghaus into the band. Now best know as the long-serving keyboardist in Jan Garbarek's perennially popular band - which he joined in time for 1988's "Legend of the Seven Dreams" -, at the end of the 70s Brüninghaus split his time between the Schoof group and Eberhard Weber's Colours, with subsequent activity including his own projects ("Freigeweht" with Kenny Wheeler and Jon Christensen) and "Continuum" (with Markus Stockhausen and Fredy Studer - also a German Critics Prize winner). And then there is the leader. "Resonance" incorporates some of the most comprehensive music of Schoof's long career and some of the finest instance of his own playing on disc. The full range is here, the romantic ballad playing, the stark dramatic post-bop soloing, and the squeezing-out- sparks free playing.

Manfred Schoof was born in Magdeburg in 1936 and studied at the academies of Kassel and Köln: at the latter he was a composition student of Bernd Alois Zimmermann. One of the first wave of German free players he played and recorded with Gunter Hampel's band before forming his own ensembles, and was also amongst the first of the European players to write quasi-orchestral structures to contain the energies of collective improvisation. His album "European Echoes", recorded in 1969, launched the FMP label. A long-time member of the Globe Unity Orchestra, Schoof has also had playing associations with Mal Waldron, George Russell, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland and many others. Since 1990 he has been professor of trumpet and jazz history at the Musikhochschule Köln. The recipient of many prizes, in 2006 he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz for his services to music in Germany.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Magnetic Works, 1993-2001
Jens Petter Antonsen: trumpet; Per Jørgensen: trumpet, vocals; Arve Henriksen: trumpet, vocals; Morten Halle: alto saxophone, flute; Tore Brunborg: tenor and soprano saxophones; Gertrud Økland: violin; Henrik Hannisdal: violin; Odd Hannisdal: violin; Trond Villa: viola; Marek Konstantynowicz: viola; Jonas Franke-Blom: violoncello; Svante Henryson: violoncello; Morten Hannisdal: violoncello; Jon Balke: piano, keyboards, percussion, electronics; Anders Jormin: double-bass; Marilyn Mazur: percussion; Audun Kleive: drums

This anthology contains music from a trilogy of albums made in the period of 1993 to 2001 by Jon Balke's Magnetic North Orchestra: "Further", "Solarized" and "Kyanos". "Further" and "Kyanos" were issued by ECM in1994 and 2002, respectively. Between them, in 1999, came "Solarized", which was issued by Emarcy in Norway, but was only briefly available. The inclusion of nine tracks from this disc in the present compilation helps to cast light on the evolution of Balke's musical thinking and the concepts he has developed to redefine music for larger groups of players.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Rio
HÖGSTA BETYG I DAGENS NYHETER

4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I SYDSVENSKAN

"Det är samtidigt en avundsjuka. Jag har alltid fascinerats av dessa stora pianister som tycks ha en hel fantastisk värld för sig själva så fort de slår sig ner vid flygeln. Jarrett är så klart inget undantag, och i mina öron är inte bara "Köln" utan faktiskt även "Rio" exempel på det där sagolika musicerandet. Bara albumet är en värld i sig, inspelat live på Theatro Municipal i Rio de Janeiro tidigare i år. Han rör vid gospeln, vid bluesen och jazzen, vid kammarmusiken, vid pianister och komponister som föregår honom och lever vidare i hans spel, samtidigt som han i varje enskilt stycke är sig själv, karaktäristiskt gnyende och lika självklar i sin kreativa identitet som hans teknik är bländande."
(Dagens Nyheter)

"På den här matiga dubbeln från en konsert i Rio i april 2011 känns Keith Jarrett ovanligt melodiös och tillgänglig över de femton korta spåren. Han byter mellan sitt klassiska gospel­gung, stilla impressionistiskt solglitter, en sprättig fritonal attack, boogie, latinofärgad vals och en standardlik ballad. Det är mycket stimulerande lyssning, Jarrett var tydligt inspirerad och publikens explosionsartade entusiasm smittar av sig på en själv."
(Sydsvenskan)

Keith Jarrett: piano

A fascinating document of Keith Jarrett's solo concert in Rio de Janeiro on April 9, 2011. The pianist pulls a broad range of material from the ether: thoughtful/reflective pieces, abstract sound-structures, pieces that fairly vibrate with energy. The double album climaxes with a marvellous sequence of encores. 40 years ago Keith Jarrett recorded his first ECM disc, the solo piano "Facing You". He has refined his approach to solo music many times since then, always finding new things to play. So it is here, in this engaging solo recording from Brazil.


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Athens Concert
LIRA GILLAR

5 AV 6 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I SVENSKA DAGBLADET

4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I DAGENS NYHETER


"Något som ofta utmärker riktigt intressanta musiker är vilka de väljer att spela tillsammans med, att de då och då väljer oväntade samarbetspartners för att utveckla sitt konstnärskap. Saxofonisten Charles Lloyd tillhör definitivt den kategorin, vilket inte minst bevisas av den här konserten från Aten, som nu släpps som dubbelskiva. Här samarbetar han med den grekiska sångerskan Maria Farantouri, känd bland annat för sina tolkningar av Theodorakis sånger. Det är två rätt skilda världar och temperament som möts: Charles Lloyds coola jazzlöpningar och Maria Farantouris varma folksång. Intensiteten och livserfarenheten har de gemensamt och det blir till fördjupande möten där de olika traditionerna bryts mot varandra. Alla medverkande, inkluderande Lloyds tre kompmusiker och de två medverkande grekliska musikerna, står liksom på tå för att förmedla sin vision. Det är engagerande från första ton till sista."
(Lira)

"Den grekiska sångerskan Maria Farantouri är en kontraalt, vilket innebär att hon sjunger ovanligt djupt för en kvinna. Hennes uttryck är stort och känslosamt, men också musikantiskt på ett sätt som kanske ytterst möjliggör det här mötet med Charles Lloyd och jazzen. Som tenorsaxofonist är Lloyd lite av Farantouris motsats, men de fyller olika roller i musiken. Även Lloyd är en sann musikant, som ofta har hämtat inspiration utanför jazzen. Farantouris syntes av grekisk tradition och modern konstmusik besvarar han dels genom att sätta den i en jazzkontext, dels genom att måla upp breda ackord som mer får stå i fonden. Mellan dem utspelar sig en vacker och värdig musikalisk dialog, lyhört påpassad av bandet med bland andra pianisten Jason Moran och Socratis Sinopoulus på lyra."
(Dagens Nyheter)

Charles Lloyd, tenor saxophone, flute, tarogato
Maria Farantouri, voice
Jason Moran, piano
Reuben Rogers, double-bass
Eric Harland, drums
Socratis Sinopoulos, lyra
Takis Farazis, piano

Stunning performance in front of a huge audience at the open air Odeon of Herodes Atticus, as Charles Lloyd, uniquely-expressive saxophonist, and Maria Farantouri, Greece's voice of resistance, come together. Friends for some years, this is their first recorded collaboration. Lloyd's brilliant quartet is on hand - with Jason Moran in especially creative mode - augmented by lyra player Socratis Sinopoulos and second pianist Takis Frazio in a marvelous programme that includes songs by Mikis Theoedorakis, suites of Greek traditional music, Eleni Karaindrou's "Journey to Kythera" and Lloyd originals including his classic "Dream Weaver". "Athens Concert" is a major event, a very special live album indeed.


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Live
Nik Bärtsch, piano
Sha, alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Björn Meyer, bass
Thomy Jordi, bass (on Modul 55)
Kaspar Rast, drums
Andi Pupato, percussion

Ronin around the world: a powerful and atmospheric concert recording with music captured in Germany, Austria, Holland, England, and Japan, a double-album which transmits the live impact of Nik Bärtsch's band and its enveloping modular groove music of interlocking rhythms. It's also a set that marks the end of an era and the transition into a new one. These are the last recordings of Ronin with Björn Meyer's elegantly-leaping bass guitar as one of the lead voices, and Bärtsch views the album as partly a tribute to Meyer's long tenure with the band. New bassist Thomy Jordi, meanwhile, makes an impressive entrance on "Modul 55", but it's most often the whole band, as a unified field of force, that commands the listener's attention.

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image In Concert - Robert Schumann
0

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
This never-before-released concert recording by pianist Keith Jarrett of Book I of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, made in March 1987 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, New York, is now issued in ECM’s 50th anniversary year.

”These are performances in which tempos, phrasing, articulation and the execution of ornaments are convincing,” wrote Gramophone of Jarrett’s first recorded account of the first 24 of Bach’s “48” some three decades ago. “Both instrument and performer serve as unobtrusive media through which the music emerges without enhancement.”

In this live recording from Troy, just one month after his studio recording of the work, Jarrett addresses the challenges of Bach’s great set of preludes and fugues once more. Part of the goal is transparency, to bring the listener closer to the composer. As the pianist explained at the time: “The very direction of the lines, the moving lines of notes, are inherently expressive...When I play Bach, I hear almost the process of thought. Any coloration has nothing to do with this process.”

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image In The Light (2 CD)
Keith Jarrett, piano, gong, percussion, conductor

Ralph Towner, guitar
Willi Freivogel, flute
The American Brass Quintet
The Fritz Sonnleitner Quartet
String Section of the Südfunk Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart/
Mladen Gutesha

Recorded 1973


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Concerts Bremen / Lausanne (2 CD)
Keith Jarrett, piano

Recorded March and July 1973
Keith Jarrett pianoRecorded July 12, 1973, Kleiner Sendsaal, Radio Bremenand March 20, 1973, Salle de Spectacles D'Epalinges, LausanneEngineers: Kurt Rapp and Martin WielandProduced by Manfred Eicher and Keith JarrettIn his timeless solo concerts, Jarrett displays the uncanny ability to drop himself into a piece of improvised music as if it has been playing invisibly in the ether all along, requiring him only to pick up from whichever measure he encounters and leave the music to continue on after he has left the stage. This album predates Jarrett's Köln concert by just two years and was the one that really put him on the map before that legendary successor. Yet we cannot simply say that Jarrett is channeling the cosmos and leave it at that, for he inhabits a melodic space that is tangible, his own. Though filed under jazz, this music is something far more than any generic summary could express. Still, I persist in trying.The work in Bremen feels to me like travel. In Part I, we run through many modes of transportation: from air to earth to rail, we are given a glimpse of new places and spaces (both inner and outer). We don't so much physically as emotionally go there, feeling our way through unfamiliar territory as if it were our very home. Part II has a more decidedly gospel feel to it, rushing headlong into an ecstatic communion. For nearly 45 minutes, Jarrett manages to ride a wave of endless creative fervor as if every moment were not the last, but the first. Just then, halfway through, the mood darkens. Until now we have been heading for the sun when suddenly we are looking back to the earth, thinking of all that we would miss: the sensation of water trickling through our fingers, kisses upon our children's foreheads, the rustling of wind blowing through our back yards. With a mere gathering of notes, Jarrett manages to imagine a lifetime's worth of memories, departing at last with an exultant resignation, perhaps even rebirth.Lausanne, on the other hand, crosses the previous series of vertical strokes with horizontal ones. Every time Jarrett slips into another intersection, he locks himself into a new idea until its beauty becomes too much for him and he must move on. "Transcendent" doesn't even begin to describe the effect, for it is also confrontational, painful, and transportative. For the latter portion of the Lausanne solo, Jarrett ventures inside the piano, slapping and plucking his way through a percussive and surreal call-and-response and, eventually, a frenzied fade into silence.Of all of Jarrett's solo piano recordings, I love the sound of this piano over the rest. Whatever instrument he is playing here seems to let go of any and all inhibitions in his presence and shines steadily like a planet in its higher regions. Jarrett plays with unparalleled diction. Like any great orator, he means to ensure that we understand every word through his delivery, and for that he has chosen the perfect mouthpiece.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Hymns / Spheres
Keith Jarrett, organ

"Hymns/Spheres", Keith Jarrett's celebrated 1976 encounter with the Trinity organ of Ottobeuren's Benedictine abbey, is at last released in its entirety on CD in this double-disc set prepared from the original analog tapes. "No overdubs or technical ornamentations were utilized, only the pure sound of the organ in the abbey is heard". The pure sound, as channelled by the mind, hands, and feet of one of the great improvisers of the age. When "Hymns/Spheres" was first released in 1976, some critics made comparisons with the organ music of Ligeti, Messiaen and Reger, but time has shown this to be an essential expression of Jarrett's creativity, original to the core.

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Nude Ants (2 CD)
Keith Jarrett, piano, timbales, percussion
Jan Garbarek, saxophones
Palle Danielsson, bass
Jon Christensen, drums, percussion

Recorded May 1979


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image 80/81
Metheny's strongest improvisational recording brought himinto the orbit of some heavy players. On this double album,the 26-year-old guitarist could engage with the saxophonesof Dewey Redman and Michael Brecker, and ride the surgingpulsations supplied by a first-ever rhythm section teamingof Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette. "What results in analways fascinating, often provocative performance from allinvolved. Mike Brecker's marvelous swooping and soaringimprovisation of 'First Folk Song' is one of his finest recordedmoments" - High Fidelity

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Sanfona
Gismonti delivers this impressive mixed set for his third ECM release. The first half features Gismonti's Academia de Dancas quartet on a handful of originals, including the popular "Frevo." The band features Zeca Assumpcao on bass, Mauro Denise on reeds, Nene on percussion, and Gismonti on both guitar and piano. For the second half, Gismonti goes solo on acoustic guitar, Indian organ, and voice for a lovely program taped live in Munich. With fine notes and spoken bits by Gismonti, listeners will find much in the way of Brazilian musical and cultural history to compliment the music. A perfect overview for the curious fan.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Tribute (2 CD)
Keith Jarrett returns to Köln - this time with his trio - to paytribute to the great jazz improvisers through the medium ofstandards, renewing songs associated with John Coltrane,Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Jim Hall, Lee Konitz, SonnyRollinsandmore. Keith Jarrett, piano
Gary Peacock, bass
Jack DeJohnette, drums

Recorded October 1989


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Whisper Not
Musica Jazz, Album of the Year
Diapason d'Or
Jazzman, Choc du mois
Stereoplay, CD des Monats
Fono Forum, Stern des Monats
Stereo, CD des Monats


This is the first Standards Trio recording since Keith Jarrett's return to public performance, and some changes have been wrung in the group's improvisational approach. The making of Jarrett's acclaimed solo album "The Melody At Night, With You" has influenced the way his Trio now approaches ballads. And the uptempo numbers have a new buoyancy.

Keith Jarrett, piano
Gary Peacock, double-bass
Jack DeJohnette, drums

Recorded July 1999


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Free And Equal
"Free and Equal finds the saxophonist exercising his compositional prowess while still leaving plenty of room for the impressive improvising skills that have earned him a rep as one of Europe's most intriguing reed players. The setting is a suite of nine pieces with notated ensemble sections played by the keen 10-member classical outfit London Brass. Cleverly linking several of the pieces are intuitive duos by Surman and DeJohnette. Dynamics are flaunted, the music steadily shifts its weight, and as one episode leads to the next, you come to understand you're in the hands of a master."
(DownBeat)

John Surman, soprano and baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
Jack DeJohnette, drums, piano
London Brass

Recorded June 2001



kr 85 (kr 169)
Image Dresden
4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I DAGENS NYHETER

"Saxofonisten Jan Garbareks lyriska tonspråk har ackompanjerats på drastiskt olika vis genom åren. Ena ytterligheten måste vara hans samarbete med sångarna i Hilliardensemblen; den andra kan mycket väl vara just den här upplagan av Jan Garbarek Group. "Dresden" är en liveinspelning från en period då Eberhard Weber nyligen hade ersatts av brasilianen Yuri Daniel på elbas. Den nödvändiga, här pågående justeringen av gruppens dynamik och sound ger musiken en särskild nerv, inte minst i mer improviserade avsnitt. Som tidigare sker också mycket i mötet mellan Garbarek och den drivne trumslagaren Manu Katché. Rainer Brüninghaus på piano och keyboards gör gruppen komplett och har stor känsla för musikens olika stämningar. Det är ett dubbelalbum om sju respektive nio låtar. Om än bara en del av Garbareks stora repertoar, så visar materialet på en kreativ bredd, från originalkompositioner hämtade från flera tidigare skivor, till intressanta covers som "Milagre dos peixes", skiven av Milton Nascimento men kanske mer känd som en av låtarna på Wayne Shorters "Native dancer"."
(Dagens Nyheter)

Jan Garbarek: soprano and tenor saxophones, silje flute; Rainer Brüninghaus: piano, keyboards; Yuri Daniel: bass; Manu Katché: drums

This two-CD set is the first-ever live album to be issued under Jan Garbarek's name. "Dresden", a fiery and powerful performance and a fine document of the Norwegian saxophonist's exceptional improvising capacities, captures his group in a period when it was, of necessity, reformulating its approach. Earlier in the year bassist Yuri Daniel had been drafted into the band to help Garbarek fulfil commitments when Eberhard Weber, a unique component of the Garbarek ensemble's core sound for three decades, had been sidelined by illness. The new group tackles its repertoire head-on; with the interaction between Garbarek and drummer Manu Katché at the centre of the music. Daniel, a Brazilian bassist living in Portugal whose previous associations have ranged from Maria João's group to the Lisbon Underground Music Ensemble, helps to anchor the pulses and rhythm patterns. Rainer Brüninghaus, a Garbarek Group member since 1988, maintains his long-established role as colourist-in-action. While both bassist and keyboardist claim their own solo space, more often they help to shape a climate in which Garbarek's hymnic, declamatory and intensely melodic solos can find full expression, drawing energy also from Katché's hard-driving drums. As The Guardian wrote of the group on this leg of the 2007 tour, "The contrast between an intense jamming sound and the songlike simplicity of the tunes is always Garbarek's magic mix, but this version of the band has an exhilarating intensity." The Norwegian-German-Brazilian-French band powers through material old and new, and sketches a world of musical interconnections - beginning with an ecstatic account of "Paper Nut", written by Indian violinist Lakshminarayana Shankar for the ECM "Song for Everyone" album back in 1984. "Milagre Dos Peixes" (Miracle of the Fishes), by Milton Nascimento, was a revelation for many musicians when Wayne Shorter introduced it on his "Native Dancer" recording: the Garbarek group lift it to another level. "Rondo Amoroso", is Garbarek's arrangement of a composition by Harald Sæverud (1897-1992). Perhaps the most prolific Norwegian composer after Grieg, Sæverud was strongly influenced by the essence of folksong - the parallel with Jan's work is clear enough.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Sleeper (2CD)
5 AV 6 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I SVENSKA DAGBLADET

4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I SYDSVENSKAN

"Keith Jarretts "europeiska kvartett", med saxofonisten Jan Garbarek, basisten Palle Danielsson och slagverkaren Jon Christensen, var varken särskilt långlivad (några år på 70-talet) eller produktiv (fyra album). Ändå har den en framskjuten plats i jazzhistorien. Sleeper är en outgiven liveinspelning från Japan, april 1979, och kommer från samma tid som de två andra livealbumen i kvartettens diskografi. Inget nytt under solen alltså, men det är svårt att klaga då musiken är så knäckande bra. Samtliga spelar på toppen av sin förmåga, utan att någonsin förfalla till uppvisningskonster."
(Svenska Dagbladet)

"På de senaste 40 åren har knappast något europeiskt jazzalbum fängslat och inspirerat så många musiker och lyssnare som den här kvartettens. Endast fyra skivor kom på 1970- och 80-talet, så denna dubbel är direkt en dyrgrip. "Sleeper" spelades in -79 i Tokyo, under samma turné som de två äldre livealbumen. Fyra låtar är desamma som på "Nude Ants" och även om intensiteten ligger lite högre där, så står sig "Sleeper" väl och det är spännande och givande att jämföra. Detta var inte gänget som upprepade sig så gärna. Jazz med extra allt - fantastiska melodier, besjälat samspel, en rytmisk vitalitet som fick musiken att dansa och en alldeles egen gruppklang. "Innocence" görs lika öm och kärleksfull som "Personal Mountains" är ostoppbart pulserande."
(Sydsvenskan)

Keith Jarrett: piano, percussion; Jan Garbarek: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, percussion; Palle Danielsson: double-bass; Jon Christensen: drums, percussion

ECM is particularly pleased to present this two-disc set by one of the most outstanding groups of its era, the group often referred to as 'Belonging' or Keith Jarrett's 'European Quartet', heard here in a previously unreleased concert recording from 1979. After more than three decades in the archive, this "sleeper" now awakes, sounding thoroughly alive and of the moment.

"Sleeper" is a significant addition to the group's small discography, until now comprised of the albums "Belonging" (1974), "My Song" (recorded 1977, released 1978), "Nude Ants" (recorded 1979), and "Personal Mountains" (1979, released 1989). The pieces performed by the quartet on April 16, 1979, at Tokyo's Nakano Sun Plaza were Jarrett compositions - "Personal Mountains", "Innocence", "So Tender", "Oasis", "Chant of the Soil", "Prism" and "New Dance" - all written for this ensemble (in later years, "Prism" and "So Tender" would be reinterpreted by the "Standards" trio), all delivered with enormous verve. This was a group that could play very freely, and joyously, inside the melodic and rhythmic structures set up or implied by Keith Jarrett's writing, with an extraordinary and unforced sense of flow. As Jarrett said at the time: "I myself, as a so-called leader, wish very, very often to blend with the other three musicians and that situation [the Belonging band] allows that, because no one is fighting with anyone else. Everyone is just trying to make the thing transparent and clear and feeling good."

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Wislawa
Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet

Tomasz Stanko, trumpet
David Virelles, piano
Thomas Morgan, double bass
Gerald Cleaver, drums

Like his early hero Miles Davis, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has a gift for shaping great bands, and this one, formed in the world's jazz capital, overflows with promise. The bass and drums team of Thomas Morgan and Gerald Cleaver is one of the most sensitive in contemporary improvising, and Cuban-born pianist David Virelles, inspired by ritual music as well as by Thelonious Monk and Andrew Hill, seems particularly well-attuned to the brooding darkness and sophisticated dread of Stanko's free ballads. In the uptempo pieces all four players seem to enter new territory, with very exciting results. The double-album programme of new Stanko compositions is inspired also by the poetry of Wislawa Symborska, the Polish poet, essayist and Nobel Laureate, who died in 2012. As Stanko writes in the CD booklet, "Reading Wislawa Szymborska's words gave me many ideas and insights. Meeting her and interacting with her poetry also gave impetus to this music, which I would like to dedicate, respectfully, to her memory."

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image No End
Keith Jarrett: electric guitars, Fender bass, drums, tablas, percussion, recorder, piano

"No End" was recorded at Cavelight, Keith Jarrett's home studio, in 1986. In his liner notes he describes the setting:

"The Studio: Cables and cords everywhere. A drum set in the corner. Tablas and percussion, instruments of all kinds strewn around the room. A beautiful deep red Gibson solid-body on a vertical stand alongside a blond wood classic Fender bass in its stand, both in front of the same blond wood chair which was directly opposite the drums. The tablas were on my American Steinway. Microphone stands were in front of the guitars, holding (to the best of my knowledge) a Neumann stereo microphone, and I believe another identical microphone was on a boom over the tablas. All the other percussion was played using the room as the guide as to where to stand or how loud to play, though I had to do many tests to achieve some intuition about this. My studio is very small, so I didn't move the drum set at all, or the microphone while playing the drums.

In the control room were two Tandberg cassette recorders which were used exclusively for this project; so I would record something first, then overdub, using headphones as a guide to the volume or position I needed to use, then overdub (with headphones, always) again, each time transforming the new information to the 'other' machine. Then I would put the newly recorded tape in the first machine, start them both, and run into the studio to overdub or start the next piece. Not a single machine breakdown occurred despite the fact that no one was in the control room monitoring anything.

There was really, to my knowledge, no forethought or 'composition' (in the typical sense) going on; just a feeling or a rhythmic idea or a bass line concept or melody. But none of this was written down. Beginnings and endings were either hit-or-miss or just plain astoundingly intuitive.

I used a small mixing board and a little reverb to send the sound out to the headphones and simultaneously onto tape. I honestly can't remember a hell of a lot about the details, but somehow something happened during these days in the 80's that won't ever be repeated. I had wanted to record on drums most of my life, and when I got the tape out recently, I thought I'd better run with it.

(....) Drums were always with me in some way. (...) I have always been drawn to instruments that you touch directly, without a mechanism in between. Therefore, I cannot say I have ever loved the piano as much as the drums or the guitar. And, though I have a reputation for being in the acoustic world, I have always loved electric guitar."

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Atmosphères
This far-reaching double album, recorded and mixed in three days in Lugano, introduces a new group with Tigran Hamasyan, Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang. The Norwegians had played in diverse configurations on ECM - Jan Bang on Eivind Aarset’s "Dream Logic", for instance, and Bang and Aarset on Arve Henriksen’s "Cartography" - but with Hamasyan at the centre of the sound, bringing with him ancient folk melodies transfigured in the compositions of Komitas, other inspirations come into play. All four players are at a creative peak here, whether freely reflecting upon Armenian themes or spontaneously shaping atmospheric soundscapes together.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Bells For The South Side
Roscoe Mitchell contrasts and – for the first time - combines the sounds and distinctive characters of his four trios in an exhilarating double album recorded at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Mitchell had been invited to premiere new music at the museum, in the context of the exhibition “The Freedom Principle”, which celebrated the directions in music and art set in motion by the AACM on Chicago’s South Side. He offers what amounts to a composer self-portrait in continually changing colours and textures, reflecting on his own history while looking toward the future. Two pieces – including the title composition – draw upon the full percussion instrumentarium of the Art Ensemble of Chicago – a panorama of gongs, bells, rattles, sirens, hand drums and more. Along the way there are remarkable contributions by all participants, among them a lyrical bass guitar feature for Jaribu Shahid on “EP 7849”, a heart-dilating solo by Tani Tabbal on “Cards for Drums”, an extended trumpet feature for Hugh Ragin on the title track, evocative and atmospheric electronics from Craig Taborn and James Fei on “Red Moon in the Sky”, and plenty of Mitchell’s powerhouse saxophones throughout, from the piercing sopranino down to the mighty bass sax. The performance is concluded with “Odwalla”, the Mitchell-composed theme song of the Art Ensemble.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Pelagos
kr 145 (kr 289)
Image La Fenice (2CD)
This recording of Keith Jarrett’s extraordinary solo performance at Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice in July 2006 finds Jarrett entering one of Italy’s most famous classical venues and channeling the flow of inspiration to shape something new. In this case, a suite of eight spontaneously created pieces referencing everything from the blues to atonality to heart-touching ballads.

Release of ‘La Fenice’ is timely: The 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music of the ‘Biennale di Venezia’ has honoured Keith Jarrett with its Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. It’s the first time that a “jazz” musician has received this award, which has previously been given to contemporary composers including, in recent decades, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Sofia Gubaidulina and Steve Reich.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Sonatas for Viola (2 CD)
Kim Kashkashian, viola
Robert Levin, piano

Recorded 1985 and 1986


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image French Suites, The (2 CD)
Keith Jarrett, harpsichord

Recorded September 1991


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Kanon Pokajanen
World premiere recordings of music for choir by Arvo Pärt, based on the canon of repentance of the Russian Orthodox Church. The canon had long fascinated the Estonian composer who finally decided to set it in its entirety in music written to mark the 750th anniversary of Cologne Cathedral. Pärt: "It took over two years to compose the Kanon pokajanen, and its hold on me did not abate until I had finished the score...That may explain why this music means so much to me." As writer Uwe Schweikert has noted, it is "music full of austere, painful beauty."

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor

Recorded June 1997

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Music for Two Pianos
ECM débuts for two of the greatest pianists of our time, artists of personal vision very seldom heard - as they are here - as piano duo. Recorded after an American tour in 1997, Schiff and Serkin deliver a programme that is in itself a kind of "art of fugue", beginning and ending with Mozart and embracing fugal compositions by Reger and Busoni. Serkin's rigorous asceticism and Schiff's elegant poetic touch are brought to bear on these works, as the players investigate the essential qualities of the music. A fascinating issue.

András Schiff, piano
Peter Serkin, piano

Recorded November 1997


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello
GRAMOPHONE EDITOR'S CHOICE

MIDEM Classical Award, Chamber Music category
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Jahrespreis
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 4/2004
Fono Forum, Empfehlung des Monats
Stereophile, Recording of the month
Gramofon (Hungary), Klassisches Album des Jahres


Two master musicians explore Beethoven's output for cello and piano: six sonatas and three sets of variations. They span Beethoven's career and make for a fascinating and rewarding musical journey in a relatively compact way. Perényi and Schiff bring many years of practical experience to bear and it shows in every bar. A masterly survey.
James Jolly, Gramophone



"Beethoven's five sonatas for piano and cello show in a nutshell the same evolution that the 32 piano sonatas show," said András Schiff recently. "You have this wonderful young lion Beethoven in the opus 5 sonatas, you have the opus 69, the A major, which stands in the middle of his life, and then you have these wonderful two works, opus 102, which are at the gates of the late style, the last phase. And these are in a way experimental works, but fully crystallized."
Superbly played by Schiff and Miklós Perényi, these may be the definitive recordings of Beethoven's music for piano and cello.

András Schiff, piano
Miklós Perényi, violoncello

Recorded December 2001 and August 2002


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Sonatas and Interludes
"Since numerous firstrate recordings of John Cage's "Sonatas and Interludes" for prepared piano flood the market, the competitive stakes run higher with each new version that appears. ... Cage's one-person-percussion-ensemble has rarely sounded as sumptous, timbrally varied or alluring in terms of sheer colour as here. The bass notes boom with presence and resonance, the papery jingling in the higher registers literally whispers in your ear (Sonata No. 3 is a good example), while the overtones in chordal passages have a richness and definition on which audiophiles will pounce. Herbert Henck invests this music with every ounce of his meticulous musicianship and technical finish, remaining fully attuned to Cage's poetic impulses and rhythmic momentum."
(BBC Music Magazine)

"As well as being a superb technician," wrote The Guardian, "Herbert Henck always puts together his discs with great thoughtfulness." "Locations" gives the most complete indication of Henck's musical range yet. He is heard, once again, as an insightful interpreter of modern music, and also as a most convincing improviser. Disc One is devoted to an impeccable account of John Cage's seminally important "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano". Disc Two features two groups of improvised "fantasies", each of them taped as "freestyle extensions" of Henck's interpretative work.

Herbert Henck, piano, prepared piano

Recorded 1993 and 2000


kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Music of Elliott Carterand Isang Yun
The peerless artistry of Heinz Holliger - unchallenged as the world's greatest oboist - and of his immensely gifted colleagues Thomas Zehetmair, Thomas Demenga and Ruth Killius, is applied to the music of two of the greatest composers of modern times. Elliott Carter (born 1908) and Isang Yun (1917-1995) stand as paradigms of artistic independence, composers of defiant originality, parallel figures in the West and the East. On "Lauds and Lamentations", as Heinz Holliger says, "the existential intensity of Isang Yun's music-making is juxtaposed with the 'miracle' of Elliott Carter's late works." Of the eight Carter pieces heard here, five are world premiere recordings, including the Oboe Quartet, a major work by any standards. Yun's Quartet for Oboe and String Trio also receives its premiere recording.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo, The
"It is a superb account, bursting at once with piety toward the spirit of this music and sheer irreverence toward its execution. At the center is Mr. Kremer's unmistakable approach to tone production: raw, molten fortes are pulled from deep inside the strings, ghostly pianos are floated with lightning-quick bow speed. On the whole, tempos are fast, and Mr. Kremer's approach to Bach's thick chords is more compact and vertical. ... Like the earlier set, this one bristles with fresh ideas. ... In Mr. Kremer's latest ... this centuries-old music sounds searingly modern, like a composer's testament born, as the violinist reminds us, in a yesterday that will always be today."
(New York Times)

Gidon Kremer, violin

Recorded March and September 2002



kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Geistervariationen
HÖGSTA BETYG I GÖTEBORGS-POSTEN

"För konstmusikens framtid, ja även för dess historia och närvaro i samtiden, är det av stor vikt att musiker av András Schiffs slag fortsätter att utmana de etablerade uppfattningarna. Det handlar om kombinationen av virtuositet och äventyrlighet och förståelsen för hur det ena förutsätter det andra. Schiff är i den bemärkelsen en ovanlig musiker. En av vår tids absolut främsta pianister, men också en av de mest risktagande, experimentbenägna. På denna dubbelcd återvänder han till ett av sina specialområden: Robert Schumanns pianomusik, och inkluderar de två alternativa sluten av C-durfantasin opus 17, ett av Schumanns mest våghalsiga och gränssprängande verk. Det är lysande framfört förstås, men också ett bevis för hur musiken behöver alternativa läsningar, sidobelysningar, en genuin spänning i det levande ögonblicket. Här ingår också de sällan framförda Geistervariationen från februari 1854, tillkomna precis innan Schumann gick in sinnessjukdomens mörker. Spökenas röster talar genom tonsättarens hand. Klangerna får kroppen att vibrera."
(Göteborgs-Posten)

András Schiff, piano

A decade after his highly acclaimed "In Concert" album, master pianist András Schiff continues his documentation of Robert Schumann's music in a 2-CD set recorded at Neumarkt's Reitstadl. The repertoire includes Papillons op. 2, Klaviersonate fis-moll op. 11, Kinderszenen op. 15, Fantasie C-Dur op. 17, Waldszenen op. 82, Thema mit Variationen (Geistervariationen). The Fantasy in C Major is heard with alternate endings: as well as the official published version, Schiff includes a preliminary version he finds more musically convincing. András Schiff gives his thoughts on the matter in a very interesting note in the CD booklet which also gives background information by Wolf-Dieter Seiffert on each of the compositions.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Zehetmair Quartet
Zehetmair Quartet

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Johann Sebastian Bach began work on his six sonatas for violin and harpsichord (BWV 1014-19) while at the courts of Weimar and Köthen and returned to the compositions over several decades, revising and polishing until the years before his death. C.P.E. Bach would later pronounce the pieces "among the best works of my dear father." Prefiguring the classic duo sonata, violin and keyboard meet on equal terms in this music, and both are challenged by Bach's compositional demands. The group of sonatas was conceived as a set - six sonatas in six keys, three major and three minor. Bach's first biographer Forkel wrote that the six sonatas "may be reckoned among Bach's masterpieces in this genre. They are fugued throughout, and even contain characterful natural canons in dialogue between the two instruments. A master is required to play the violin part, for Bach knew the possibilities of that instrument and spared it as little as he did the harpsichord."

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Préludes
4 AV 5 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I DAGENS NYHETER

5 AV 6 MÖJLIGA I BETYG I SVENSKA DAGBLADET

"Claude Debussys "En fauns eftermiddag" och "Tre nocturner" är läckra stämningsstycken, berömda för sin orkesterkolorit. Men de gör sig också i pianoversionerna för fyra händer, signerade tonsättaren själv respektive Maurice Ravel, i alla fall när de spelas så genomtänkt som här. Och även om Alexej Lubimovs inspelning av preludierna inte innebär att man behöver kasta Michelangelis inspelningar överbord så är de absolut hörvärda. Lubimov har letat upp två instrument från tidigt 1900-tal, inte så mycket för autenticitetens skull som för klangvalörens. Hans spel är också känsligt, någon gång påfallande emotionellt. Och ljudbilden är precis så vid som krävs för denna valörrika musik."
(Dagens Nyheter)

Alexei Lubimov, piano

Debussy is closer to the expressionism of Schoenberg than to the chiselled sonorities of a Chopin or the extravagant virtuosity of a Liszt, even if his refined art can still be seen in the line of tradition of 19th-century music. This is frequently forgotten in the interpretation as well as the assessment of his oeuvre. Debussy himself decried the concept of musical impressionism because he feared, rightly, that superficial refinement would degenerate into musical mist, concealing the subtleties of a new musical idiom and its structural logic. Thus, for example, instead of heading his 24 "Préludes" in two books with programmatic titles in his autograph score, he appended them at the bottom of the individual pieces. Perhaps, even though their popularity makes it almost impossible, we ought simply to forget about the titles when playing or listening to these pieces and recall something else that Debussy once said: "Music is a free art gushing forth, an open-air art boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea." It is in this manner - sans rigeur, as Debussy repeatedly marked his music - that Alexei Lubimov plays the "Préludes". The recording also contains the "Trois Nocturnes" in Maurice Ravel's two-piano transcription as well as a two-piano arrangement of Debussy's seminal orchestral masterpiece, the "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune".

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Diabelli-Variationen (2CD)
András Schiff, piano

The Diabelli Variations have long been considered a magnum opus in Beethoven's piano music and a towering historical contribution to the genre, with Bach's Goldberg Variations as their forebear and Brahms's Handel Variations as their heir.

Yet many pianists, even great pianists, have been intimidated by their sheer immensity. Throughout their careers Edwin Fischer and Wilhelm Kempff gave a wide berth to this allegedly unwieldy masterpiece, a work that sometimes sounds like a melancholy or grimly humorous commentary on the whole of music history and seems to cast an avant-gardist glance at 20th- or even 21st-century music.

Hans von Bülow called this musical monument a microcosm of Beethoven's genius. It is not a set of variations in the traditional sense, for rather than weaving ornamental garlands around its simple theme, it dissects it in order to develop an entire encyclopaedia of pianism from its material.

Now András Schiff has followed up his prize-winning complete set of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas for ECM with a recording of the Diabelli Variations that is remarkable in many ways.

First, this Hungarian pianist combines the colossal variations with two other major late works from Beethoven's pianistic oeuvre: the Sonata op. 111 and the Bagatelles op. 126 (the former having concluded of course his traversal of the complete Sonatas for ECM). This new recording impressively draws attention to these works' intrinsic ties to the Diabelli Variations. The Arietta theme in op. 111 and Diabelli's waltz are both set in C major in triple meter, and both begin with an upbeat. Still more striking are the identical intervals that define both themes: the descending 4th from C to G, and the descending 5th from D to G. Further, the bagatelles are far removed from what their title might seem to imply: they are Beethoven's final utterances on his preferred instrument. András Schiff has referred to them as aphorisms, as poetic as they are profound, and even calls the Fourth Bagatelle 'an almost demonic piece of astonishing modernity'.

But the recordings are remarkable for other reasons, too. Rather than using a modern Steinway, András Schiff has recorded them in two different versions on two period instruments. CD 1 (op. 111 and the Diabelli Variations) on an original Bechstein grand from 1921, the instrument preferred by Wilhelm Backhaus and Artur Schnabel, and one in which András Schiff sees an almost forgotten sound-ideal. CD 2 (a second reading of the Diabelli Variations and the op. 126 Bagatelles) is recorded on a Hammerflügel fortepiano from Beethoven's own day which, with its extraordinary extra pedals, reveals the full rich panoply of the composer's sonic universe. This gives listeners a unique opportunity to compare these highly contrasting sonic universes with their rich range of sound, so very different from the balanced, disengaged sound of a modern day instrument.

Finally, András Schiff has been able to consult Beethoven's previously unknown original manuscript of the variations for his recording. Thanks to his initiative and support, this manuscript has been preserved among the holdings of the Bonn Beethoven House since 2009. More than any other source, it sheds light on the compositional process, with Beethoven's penmanship and writing speed offering subtle hints as to crescendos, tempos and arcs of tension. Not only does this source provide insight into the composer's workshop, it also forms an invaluable bridge to Beethoven's intentions.



kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Symphony No. 10 / Violin Concertino / Chamber Musi
Gidon Kremer, violin & concertmaster
Kremerata Baltica
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Daniil Grishin, viola
Giedre Dirvanauskaite, violoncello
Danielis Rubinas, double bass

The music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg is finally beginning to get the hearing it has long deserved. Weinberg's lifetime spanned the 20th century: born 1919 in Warsaw, he died 1996 in Moscow, in semi-obscurity. Along the way, his allies and supporters had included Dmitri Shostakovich, who considered him one of the great composers of the age. This double album with the Kremerata Baltica, recorded in Neuhardenberg and Lockenhaus, makes a good case for that claim. Effectively a portrait album, it begins with Weinberg's extraordinary Violin Sonata No. 3, brilliantly performed by Gidon Kremer, and proceeds from chamber music works (the Sonatina op. 46, the Trio op. 48) to strikingly-contrasting compositions for string orchestra, the graceful Concertino op. 42 inspired by the late-romantic idiom, and the adventurous Symphony no 10, bringing12-tone rows and chordal structure into unexpected juxtapositions.

kr 150 (kr 299)
Image Suiten für Violoncello
kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Six Suites for solo viola
The poetry and radiance of Bach’s cello suites (BWV 1007-1012) are transfigured in these remarkable interpretations by Kim Kashkashian on viola, offering “a different kind of sombreness, a different kind of dazzlement” as annotator Paul Griffiths observes. One of the most compelling performers of classical and new music, Kashkashian has been hailed by The San Francisco Chronicle as "an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone." An ECM artist since 1985, she approaches Bach’s music with the same commitment as revealed in her other solo recordings, the legendary Hindemith sonatas album and the widely acclaimed (and Grammy-winning) account of Kurtág and Ligeti.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Arche
For the opening of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the German composer Jorg Widmann was commissioned to write a new oratorio for soloists, choirs, organ and orchestra, Arche.

Widmann drew inspiration from the shape of the building itself: “From the outside it resembles a ship. To me, the interior looked like the hold of a ship, an ark...Re-emerging into the daylight, the ark idea would not leave me alone. The inflection of the music I had to compose was clear....” Arche is a compendious work embracing the course of history in the west with a collaged libretto drawing upon a range of writers: from the unknown authors of the Old Testament to Nietzsche and Sloterdijk via Francis of Assisi, Michelangelo and Schiller. Arche looks at the tradition of the oratorio and transforms it.

Dieter Rexroth in the liner notes: “What immediately stands out is above all the impression of paradox and the vast diversity of forms and musical resources. Everything happens at once, everything interlocks. Every moment transports us into another world.” Kent Nagano directs the massed musical forces with characteristic verve, clarity

and imagination in this concert recording from the premiere performance in January 2017.

kr 145 (kr 289)
Image Selected Recordings
"This retrospective compilation represents 30 wonderful years of my life.... I hope as you listen that you will, in some measure, hear the joy I've had making each of these recordings." Approached to record for ECM at the very beginning of its history; Jan Garbarek has since appeared on more than 50 albums for the label, and along the way has changed perceptions of improvisation, living up to George Russell's early estimation of him as "the most uniquely talented jazz musician Europe has produced since Django Reinhardt." Garbarek's double album traces the growth of his own groups, his collaborations with a wide range of musicians - from Keith Jarrett to the Hilliard Ensemble - and his investigations of Nordic and other folk traditions.

kr 145 (kr 289)
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