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

MARZETTE WATTS PROFILED (2013): Everywhere I hear the sound of . . .

MARZETTE WATTS PROFILED (2013): Everywhere I hear the sound of . . .

Should anyone doubt the close connection between American free jazz and the rise of radical black politics in the Sixties they only need to look to the life of saxophonist Marzette Watts.... > Read more

MILES DAVIS INTERVIEWED (1988): Man with the attitude

MILES DAVIS INTERVIEWED (1988): Man with the attitude

It was probably about lunchtime in New York, but here in Auckland it was 4.30 am on a grim and watery Tuesday, hardly the best time to do a phone interview. Certainly not this prearranged caller to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ROBIN MORRISON REMEMBERED (2014): Life in the lens

ROBIN MORRISON REMEMBERED (2014): Life in the lens

When Auckland photographer Robin Morrison died in 1993 at the tragically early age of 48, his legacy was already firmly established. The son of a portrait photographer (whose work he admitted... > Read more

The Who: My Generation

The Who: My Generation

In a classic cover -- bassist John Entwistle sporting the famous Pop Art-referencing "Union Jacket" -- the Who's debut album of '65 captured the youthful energy, anger, self-doubt and... > Read more