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Anja Lechner & François Couturier 'LONTANO'

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ANJA LECHNER/violoncello

FRANÇOIS COUTURIER/piano


The musical affinity between Anja Lechner and Francois Couturier has been evident in their concerts and recordings with the Tarkovsky Quartet. In this new duo, the German cellist and the French pianist traverse a still-wider musical arc, playing pieces by G.I. Gurdjieff, Federico Mompou and Anouar Brahem, as well as Couturier’s own compositions. New arrangements, free interpretation, and improvisation are all part of the work in their exploration of repertoire situated, metaphorically or musico-historically, at the crossroads of East and West. The Catalan Mompou’s music drew influence, at different times, from French impressionism, from sounds of nature and from the mystical poetry of St John of the Cross. The Greek-Armenian philosopher and spiritual teacher Gurdjieff composed music influenced by his travels through the Caucasus and Asia Minor, channelling ancient knowledge in his adaptations from secular music and sacred dances. Anouar Brahem, a master of Tunisian oud tradition, writes music influenced by both oriental and occidental sources. Franc?ois Couturier played with Brahem extensively, along the way learning much about Eastern melody and Arabic rhythmic cycles. Anja Lechner, meanwhile, has delved ever deeper into Gurdjieff’s sound-world. More than a critical and popular success, her album “Chants, Hymns and Dances” (with Vasillis Tsabropoulos) influenced studies of Gurdjieff’s compositions inside his Armenian homeland.

New CD `LONTANO`will be out in Nov 2020 on ECM Records 

LONTANO

Anja Lechner and François Couturier’s  musical collaboration is long established, through their concerts  and acclaimed recordings for ECM New Series, both in duo and with the Tarkovsky Quartet. Their successful and highly regarded duo project Moderato Cantabile featured music that oscillated between Orient and Occident. Now, with their new programme `Lontano` the German cellist and the French pianist traverse a wide musical arc -  embracing familiar melodies by Giya Kancheli, Anouar Brahem and others, and pieces which offer scope for improvisation and personal interpretation. François Couturier has also composed new music for the duo that serves as unifying element and provides a context in which improvising and free interpretation can take place. "The two musicians have refined the art of intense listening. They do not play one note too many, and use improvised passages sparingly, but pointedly. They eavesdrop for a long time and pay microscopic attention to the development of nuanced timbres, to dynamic design."

 Hans-Jürgen Linke, FAZ

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