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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Ove Volquartz, Gianni Mimmo, Peer Schlechta & John Hughes - Cadenza Del Crepuscolo (Amirani, 2023)

By Stef Gijssels

Here is another treat for people with open ears: the "Cadenza Del Crepusculo", a great work of boundary-breaking and spontaneous art, incredibly visionary and coherent in its singular voice. The quartet are Ove Volquartz on bass and contrabass clarinets, Gianni Mimmo on soprano saxophone, Peer Schlechta on pipe organ, and John Hughes on double bass. 

The title means "cadenza of the twilight" or "cadenza of the dusk", described in the liner notes as: " ... the implicitly slow flux of thoughts and reflections that emerge as we sense the day fading away, possibly in a moment of somewhat regretful oscillation between an unknown tomorrow, what we have already experienced and now miss, and the unexpressed potential of what we long for, but have not yet achieved (and perhaps never will)". There is a deep sense of drama, melancholy and hypersensitivity permeating every sound on this album. The fourty-minute piece flows slowly forward, with the dark tones of the bowed bass, the contrabass clarinet and the organ leading the way, dronelike, until gradually patterns start to emerge, allowing the soprano and bass clarinet to offer contrapuntal sad wails somewhat higher in the musical sky. 

The music is subdivided in six different parts, suitelike, even if spontaneously created, with moments of sonic unravelling in more individual ramifications, as on the third sequence, when the unicity unfolds in many directions, yet the four instruments regain their common sense of purpose, now with a sense of urgency and intensity, with more volume and power, resonating against the high ceilings and walls of the Neustädter Kirche in Hofgeismar, Germany where it was recorded on November the 8th, 2021. 

We know German musicians Peer Schlechta and Ove Volquartz from their "Music for Two Organs & Two Bass Clarinets" (2018). John Hughes was reviewed earlier this year on "Reflejos IV-VII", and Gianni Mimmo can be found on many earlier reviews. The quality of the playing of each individual musician is strong, but it's especially their interaction, and their constant common refreshing of their ideas and approaches without losing sight of the bigger picture, the overall sound and the sonic cohesion, that makes this album so remarkable. 

The organ gives the music its deep spiritual, solemn and grandiose quality, even more intensified by the deep tones of the bass instruments, occasionally sprinkled with the soprano's spiralling flights. The music is not jazz, despite the instruments, but something else, something very European, something medieval which is suddenly transposed to modern times, a long and dark eligy of deep loss with some bright moments of hope. And in that sense also a universal expression of the fate of humanity. Our fate.

You can buy the album from the label


Anonymous said...

A download can be found on Qobuz.

Thanks for the tip, Stef.