Saturday, February 10, 2018

Lalo Got There First

Lalo Schifrin, that is.

I've got a press release about a new recording from pianist and conductor David Greilsammer, which "carves out new paths between classics and jazz," in this case, between Ravel, Lully, Marais, and Rameau and jazz.

Back in the mid-1960s, a good 50 years ago, Schifrin, composer of the Mission Impossible theme and many, many first-class TV and movie scores, released a charming album of jazz/Baroque music called (deep breath) The Dissection And Reconstruction Of Music From The Past As Performed By The Inmates Of Lalo Schifrin's Demented Ensemble As A Tribute To The Memory Of The Marquis De Sade, aka "Marquis de Sade." 

I grew up with this recording and love it a lot! There's Purcell, there's Bach, there are other half-recognizable composers. Give it a listen!

The Greilsammer press release is after the cut - I'm hoping to hear it, since it sounds like plenty of fun.

On his Sony Classical album - Sounds of Transformation - available now, pianist and conductor David Greilsammer carves out new paths between classics and jazz with his orchestra Geneva Camerata. Among his special guests is the internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Yaron Herman.

David Greilsammer is a great musical bridge builder. In 2012, he made his Sony Classical debut with the album Baroque Conversations, forging a link between today’s music and the French Baroque. He attracted more attention in 2014 when he recorded sonatas and pieces by Domenico Scarlatti and John Cage. Greilsammer’s musical specialities embrace projects in which he brings together classical music and jazz with his Geneva Camerata ensemble. A close musical friendship has grown between him and the world-renowned jazz pianist Yaron Herman. Greilsammer has guested with him in his program “From Mozart to Ellington” at such events at the celebrated Montreux Jazz Festival. For his latest album, Sounds of Transformation, Greilsammer has invited Yaron Herman to join him, along with jazz percussionist Ziv Ravitz. Together with Geneva Camerata, they go in search of the spirit of jazz in works spanning three centuries.

The centrepiece of the album is Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G from 1932, played by Greilsammer, which incorporates sounds and rhythms from jazz and blues. The album also features the French Baroque composers Ravel so much admired – Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais and Jean-Philippe Rameau – in arrangements that contrast the distinctive sound of the Baroque orchestra with the sounds of a jazz Big Band. There are also individual Baroque movements by the English composer Henry Purcell. In The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives, Greilsammer conducts an orchestral work that is among the icons of the modern classical repertoire. A reworked version entitled Ives asks the Moon presents the famous trumpet fanfare of the original along the lines of an improvised ballad.

Greilsammer is particularly interested in such musical interfaces. Ultimately, he is driven by the question of whether, “we can hear the music of the past with the same ears, when the music and the mind set of the present day are present in our consciousness?”

This new light cast upon classical compositions by way of jazz does come with some surprises. An enigmatic melange of Baroque elegance and swinging rhythms is in evidence in Lully’s Last DreamRameau and the Flying Big Band gives Yaron Herman and the Geneva Camerata the chance to let rip in true Big Band style. And in Purcell in Transformation, we hear a bafflingly harmonic synthesis of Baroque groove and virtuoso jazz piano playing.

1. Lully – “Bourrée” from Le Mariage Forcé
2. Lully’s Diabolic Swing*
3. Purcell – “Prelude” from The Fairy Queen
4. Purcell in Transformation*
5. Ives - The Unanswered Question
6. Rameau – “Contredanse en Rondeau” from Les Boréades
7. Rameau and the Flying Big Band**
8. Marais’s Night Ballad**
9-11. Ravel - Piano Concerto in G – Allegramente  / Adagio assai  / Presto
12. Marais - Le Badinage
13. Rameau’s Secret Cavern
14. Rameau – “L’Orage” from Platée
15. Ives Asks the Moon**
16. Purcell Danced with the Planets*
17. Purcell – “Hornpipe” from The Fairy Queen
18. Lully’s Last Dream**
19. Lully – “Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs” from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
*Piece composed/arranged by Massimo Pinca
** Piece composed/arranged by Jonathan Keren


Anonymous said...

If you're interested in Rameau meets jazz, I'd highly recommend the electronic Rameau album by jazz keyboardist Bob James. Frank Denton introduced me to that one. It's truly beautiful stuff. James also did D. Scarlatti and and J.S. Bach.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks! I will check it out.