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

NATHAN HAINES PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Jazz from before to beyond

NATHAN HAINES PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Jazz from before to beyond

In 1994 Nathan Haines released his debut album Shift Left, an album which revealed a fault-line between the previous generation of New Zealand jazz players and – because of its use of... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB'S ASTRAL SURFERS ALBUM (2009): Keyboardist . . . to the stars

MURRAY McNABB'S ASTRAL SURFERS ALBUM (2009): Keyboardist . . . to the stars

Long experience and years of disappointment have taught me that very few among this country’s more established jazz musicians listen to much beyond their own doorstep or record collection.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DARK NIGHT: WALKING WITH McCAHON by MARTIN EDMOND

DARK NIGHT: WALKING WITH McCAHON by MARTIN EDMOND

When Colin McCahon went to Sydney in 1984 to attend an exhibition of his work the attritions of alcoholism and that intensely personal religiosity he explored had taken their toll. He had given up... > Read more

Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite: Get Up! (Stax)

Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite: Get Up! (Stax)

To be honest, the first couple of times I saw Ben Harper I walked out being bored witless by a man I jokingly came to refer to as "Taj Marley" because he simply seemed to weld together... > Read more