Thomas Demenga: Chonguri (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Thomas Demenga: Chonguri (ECM/Ode)

This might seem an unusual choice for Music From Elsewhere -- classical music on violoncello with piano and accordion accompaniment.

But Demenga's catalogue is impressive and his '94 duet album with his brother Patrick, 12 Hommages a Paul Sacher, has never been far from my stereo on quiet nights.

His on-going series where he alternates historic (notably Bach) and contemporary composers has also been an ear-opener.

This album follows in that pattern, so here are pieces by Bach, Chopin, Faure and Liszt (the gloomy and melodramatic La lugubre gondola) juxtaposed with compositions by Cassado and Milhaud, a couple of originals, and two cycles of Webern miniatures. With piano (Thomas Larcher) and accordion (Teodoro Anzellotti) adding necessary gravitas or whimsy, this is a quietly passionate and somewhat addictive release which deserves a wider audience than those inside the classical compound.

There are familiar pieces here -- Chopin's Nocturne in E-flat major, some stately Bach -- but it is the other material which is the more appealing.

The unusual title track-opener was written by Georgian cellist Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925-92) and the final piece is two slapstick-sounding minutes of Demenga's popular show stopper New York Honk.

Cello can be melancholy (and it sometimes is here) but in Demenga's hands it also sings and is full of life.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies (ECM/Ode)

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies (ECM/Ode)

By any measure this is an unusual album from French clarinettist Sclavis with guitarist Gilles Coronado and keyboard player Benjamin Moussay (who worked together previously as the Atlas Trio).... > Read more

Jacques Loussier: Plays Bach, Encore! (Telarc) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Jacques Loussier: Plays Bach, Encore! (Telarc) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Those of us with long memories and greying temples will remember a time when New Zealand television had cultural programmes in prime time, albeit in black'n'white. One of the mainstays of those... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

UNKNOWN PLEASURES; INSIDE JOY DIVISION read by PETER HOOK (8CD set)

UNKNOWN PLEASURES; INSIDE JOY DIVISION read by PETER HOOK (8CD set)

Over eight and half hours in a box of eight discs, here Joy Division bassist Peter Hook tells his own story -- and his own meat'n'potatoes version of the band's career -- which is compellingly... > Read more

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

Here's something I sometimes tell the young students in my New Zealand Music Studies course at the University of Auckland: The first music awards show I went to in about 1988 was held in a small... > Read more