Monday, July 25, 2011

Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival day 1 - Undivided with Perry Robinson / Mikolaj Trzaska

As the weekend seems now to be long gone I'll try to remember and summarize quickly in the next few posts the musical events of the Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival. Many thanks to Tomasz Konwent and Wawrzyn Makina from Multikulti and all the others whose hard work and dedication made this festival possible.

1. Undivided with Perry Robinson

cover of the new album "Moves between clouds"
The group's first cd "Passion", one of the best-received albums of 2010, was a Zimpel's reading of one of the most important cultural texts at hand, yet thought of as personal reflection on subject of pain and suffering.  The concert in Poznan presented a different material that, as introduced by Tomasz Konwent from Multikulti, is inspired by Zohar - a book of mystical commentary to Thora. (simultaneous release on a cd  - recorded live in Warsaw at 29.09.2009 - less than six months from the recording of the "Passion")
With the change of the subject came a different feeling, less tension, less dramaturgy, more pensive meditative moments, even serene (beautifully delicate chordings by Bobby Few). The ensemble's general sound remained similar, with the addition of Perry Robinson allowing for more intricate melodic structures. Enchanting and peacefull, slow tunes over contrasting, always on-the-move rhythm section with Tokar's raw energy and Kugel being his usual weather shaman (gentle rain, powerfull storm). 
I feel it would be impossible to create the same surprise-impact effect they had with their debut cd, the group re-affirmed their vision creating music that was both universal and personal, uplfiting the spirit and freeing the mind of the mundane, elated and spiritual.
It's unnecessary to write about the soloing but I feel it's important to note that Zimpel continues to grow as a composer. If "Passion" was his reflection on subject of pain and suffering than his music is becoming a general reflection on a human condition, a research on feelings and emotions transcribed into musical (melodic, harmonic, rhythmic) structures. I can't really think of anyone else now who invests so much concept into his art and succeeds.

Undivided with Perry Robinson
Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet, bass clarinet, tarogato
Bobby Few - piano
Perry Robinson - clarinet, whistle
Mark Tokar - bass
Klaus Kugel - drums

Estrada Scena na Piętrze. Poznań. 22.07.2011

2. Mikolaj Trzaska

by Krzysztof Penarski
I guess there's, as far as the music goes, nothing more intimate than a solo concert and this one was particularly so as Mikolaj Trzaska dug deep into the Jewish heritage, a musical culture he's been studying and exploring for a while now and that represents now an important thread of his musical activity. He talked a little about how the jewish music is not exactly what the so-called jewish music is thought to be, how his recent visit to Israel had infleunced him in a way nothing was as he expected it should be and how in the chasidic culture 'real' thing doesn't necessarily have to be a physical object but can be something inner, something happening inside. And then he took us there.

He starts with a breathing effects, just to let the audiece know its not going to be easy. He's playing contains the entire palette of extremes, gentle whispers and violent cries, round tone of the bass clarinet, deep and cerebral like an ancient summon, hard-edged alto, abstract tonal jumps and melodies of children song. 
But, as far as I'm concerned, it's not the tonalites or the melodies that make this music so compelling, so grasping. After the concert there's a chance to overhear an interview and Mikolaj says about how new jewish music should come frome the knowledge, the study of the tradition and how the interpretation should be done by 'feeling' not ''thinking', how the interpretation should bypass the rational intellect. And that's exactly what he does.
The subject of death appears a few times but Mikolaj says i's in a good way. Whether its grief, sorrow or joy and hope (somehow those minor scales manage to combine them all) the emotional charge and impact is in the sound, in the bold vibrato, in the entire array of timbres, air, breaths, clapping of the keys. Till the 'note' as such is a secondary aspect of the 'sound'. In that way this performance was an emotional assault, absolutely exhausting, totally engaging, a purifying katharsis that left me completely devastated. Thank You Mikolaj for that evening.

Mikolaj Trzaska - alto saxophone, c-melody saxophone, bass clarinet

Klub Dragon. Poznań. 22.07.2011

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