Mathias DUPLESSY (b. 1972)
Egberto GISMONTI (b. 1947)
Celebração de Núpcias [3:11]
Carlo DOMENICONI (b. 1947)
Koyunbaba op. 19 [11:51]
Jorge CARDOSO (b.1949)
Al DI MEOLA (b. 1954)
Vertigo Shadow [3:12]
Franghiz AL-ZADEH (b. 1947)
GAROTO (Anibal Augusto SARDINHA) (1915-1955)
Zsófia Boros (guitar)
rec. November 2015, Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano.
ECM NEW SERIES 2498 [42:23]
Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros brings a wide variety of repertoire together in this her second album for the ECM label. Carlo Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba and Jose Cardoso’s Milonga are now considered pretty much concert standards, and the mixture of miniatures and more extended works, classics and newer contemporary pieces, is an attractive prospect. This is however less about the scores and more about a unified musical narrative. Zsófia Boros says of one of these pieces that her challenge was to “find the story”: “I need to make a piece my own for it to be authentic. And I can only be authentic if I’m honest, honest if I’m free.” This description of her approach might as well be applied to most if not all of the performances here. The entire recording has something deeply personal about it, the music being channelled through the performer to create something unique rather than the performer seeking to reproduce the notes on the score as a window into the intentions of the composer. These are rather intangible impressions, but if you hear the music I think you’ll soon ‘get’ what I mean. Boros is clearly highly respectful of her composers, and by no means do I wish to imply that she makes everything sound the same, but once you’ve immersed yourself in this world you will hopefully appreciate the distinctiveness of her musicianship, and easily be able to recognise it again in future.
This is one of ECM’s enigmatic titles when it comes to booklet information. Photos and Wallace Stevens’ poem ‘Local Objects’ set up an atmosphere that is fulfilled by Boros’s sensitive and lyrical playing, and the house-style sonic picture of detailed and colourful recording with plenty of ambient resonance. Technically assured, Boros explores each of these pieces with a remarkable palette of colours and dynamic layers. Each performance has its own rather magical qualities and as a result it’s a fool’s errand trying to pick stand-out tracks, but if you are sampling to find out something of the essence of what’s going on then I would guide you towards the Cantabile movement of Carlo Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba which pretty much has it all, from the gentlest of beginnings to a remarkable climax. This four movement work concerns a 13th century hermit who lived in a cove by the Aegean Sea, and there is plenty of content to get your teeth into here. The sense of strings in action in the final Presto is also a showcase of stunning virtuosity and musicality in a single package.
Even amongst the more modern sounding pieces here there are no ‘difficult’ works as such, though Fantasie by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh at times goes closest to abstract complexity in its more implacable examination of certain ideas and sonorities.
If you are interested in an enchanted crossover world between classical music and the inventive jazz realms of the likes of Ralph Towner then this is however very much your point of contact.