The Jazz Mann | Gwilym Simcock & Yuri Goloubev - Reverie at Schloss Elmau | Review | The Jazz Mann

Accessibility Menu

REVIEW

Gwilym Simcock & Yuri Goloubev - Reverie at Schloss Elmau Rating: 4 out of 5 A perfect summation of the duo's masterful synthesis of jazz and classical elements.

Gwilym Simcock & Yuri Goloubev

“Reverie at Schloss Elmau”

(ACT Music + Vision ACT 9624-2)

2014 sees the launch of ACT’s “Duo Art” strand which will see many of the label’s leading lights coming together on a series of intimate duo recordings. The first to be released is this delightful album from British pianist Gwilym Simcock who is teamed with the Russian born bassist Yuri Goloubev. The pair are old friends who have toured and recorded frequently as part of a trio featuring the excellent young British drummer James Maddren. The trio appear on Simcock’s 2009 double set “Blues Vignette” (Basho Records) which is reviewed elsewhere on this site.

While Simcock has seen his career take off as both a solo artist and as a member of the bands The Impossible Gentlemen and The Lighthouse Trio, Goloubev has kept himself busy not only with his own projects but also as a prolific sideman in the trios of pianists John Law and Alex Hutton and guitarist Maciek Pysz. Nevertheless it’s good to see the pair back together again on this immaculately produced album recorded by engineer Adrian von Ripka at Schloss Elmau, ACT’s cultural retreat in the Bavarian Alps.

In a sense the new album is a follow up to Simcock’s ACT début, the solo piano album “Good Days At Schloss Elmau” which was nominated for the 2011 Mercury Music Prize. As on the solo recording there are pieces on the new album that were inspired by the location and none more so than the opening track “Pastoral”.

The accompanying press release makes much of both men’s backgrounds as classical music scholars   and particularly Goloubev’s twelve year stint as principle double bass for the acclaimed Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble. The classical influence remains strong throughout this album, both in the writing and the playing, but the music is still recognisably jazz, the empathy between the musicians enhanced by the fact that both have perfect pitch.

Both musicians contribute liner notes that helpfully explain something about their compositions. “Pastoral” is one of Simcock’s, written, he informs us “with the beautiful surroundings of Elmau very much in mind”. The music was recorded in March 2013 with snow still on the ground as evidenced by David Forman’s liner photo.
Simcock goes on to state that he views “Pastoral” as a “prelude” to the album and explains that it is constructed around a simple theme that is treated to several harmonic variations throughout the composition. The music varies from the free and ambient to the lushly melodic with Goloubev using both bow and fingers and Simcock occasionally reaching under the lid. The press release suggests that Simcock’s theme exhibits the influence of both Prokofiev and Stravinsky, favourite composers of Simcock’s father, Alan. Be that as it may, the rapport between the two musicians is striking throughout, together with the individual virtuosity and the sheer quality of von Ripka’s recording.

Goloubev’s “Lost Romance” was originally written as an accordion melody. The composer describes it as “nineteenth century romanticism fused with jazz harmonies” plus a “slight contemporary twist of modern classical melodic language”. It’s as romantic and melodic as its predecessor with Goloubev’s virtuoso pizzicato bass particularly impressive.

Simcock’s “Shades Of Pleasure” is a through composed piece with the pianist concentrating on the black keys in one section, white in the other. It’s an exploration of the “colours” of harmony with the composer seeking to elicit an emotional response from the listener. He succeeds brilliantly with yet another beautifully melodic and romantic piece of writing. Goloubev moves between fingers and bow, his arco playing in the latter stages of the piece really tugging at the heartstrings of the listener.

Also from Simcock’s pen, but very different in mood and intention, is the playful “Antics” a piece commissioned in 2012 at the time of the London Olympiad. As Simcock explains the piece was originally written for performance on “fifty old, battered upright pianos around the streets and parks of London and two dancers also performed it with me”. Naturally Elmau’s resident concert grand sounds better than any number of battered old uprights but the essential joyousness of the piece remains. The duo retain the original “bouncy” (Simcock’s word) and rhythmic feel of the piece and as the composer explains “Yuri and myself very much enjoy the rhythmic side of our trio, so this piece was a natural choice to include in the repertoire”.

The prolific Simcock also contributes “A Joy Forever”, which he describes as a “very simple piece, full of space, and using the very special qualities of Yuri’s arco playing”. Like the opening “Pastoral” this is another composition inspired by the surroundings of “Schloss Elmau”, in this case the spaciousness of the building and its location. Goloubev is inspired form throughout, both with and without the bow, his arco and pizzicato solos are both breathtakingly beautiful.

Goloubev’s “Non-Schumann Lied” is a reflection of Goloubev’s love of nineteenth century German composers and also includes a nod to Brahms. There’s more gorgeous pizzicato soloing from the composer and flowingly lyrical, subtly jazz tinged piano from Simcock.

“Flow” is another example of Simcock’s penchant for “writing optimistic, happy music” and he states his intention to create a “soaring feel to the composition overall”. This is achieved in part via Simcock’s gently rippling arpeggios and what the press release describes as a “galloping solo” although to these ears it’s rather more sophisticated than that and reflects the “flow” of the title. Elsewhere there’s the exquisite bowing and pizzicato work of Goloubev, playing in what Simcock describes as “an infeasibly high register”. Indeed there’s a cello like agility and expressiveness about Goloubev’s arco work throughout the album, a quality Simcock describes as “this incredibly rich tenor sound”.

Goloubev’s “Vain Song” was written as a response to Simcock’s own “Plain Song”, a piece that appeared on Simcock’s solo piano album “Good Days At Schloss Elmau”. “Plain Song” has since been performed by the duo and Goloubev also included a version of it on his own album “Standpoint”. Solo pizzicato bass introduces the tune and the piece has something of the simple harmonics and high melodic content of the original. Goloubev speaks of “counteracting” Simcock’s tune but the gorgeously mellifluous “Vain Song” is actually a perfect companion piece with some beautifully lyrical playing from both musicians.

The album closes with “Reverie”, a piece by the 19th century Italian Romantic composer and double bassist Giovanni Bottesini. Selected by Goloubev it’s effectively the title track and forms part of the “standard” classical bass repertoire. Goloubev has adapted it by changing the key to C (it’s traditionally played in G or D) and Simcock’s piano part follows the “jazz charts” the duo derived from the original. Goloubev’s solos on both arco and pizzicato bass are divine, the piece is essentially a feature for him, and he is complemented superbly by the ever tasteful and resourceful Simcock. This arrangement is a perfect summation of the duo’s masterful synthesis of jazz and classical elements.

“Reverie at Schloss Elamau” represents a superb start to ACT’s “Duo Art” series. Subsequent releases will feature the pairings of;
  Philip Catherine (guitar) and Martin Wind (bass)
George Mraz (bass) and Emil Viklicky (piano)
Joachim Kuhn (piano) and Alexey Kruglov (saxophone)
plus more to come.

In the meantime I’m pleased to report that Simcock has recovered from a hand injury (damaged thumb ligaments) and is now back playing live again. He and Goloubev have a number of dates lined up in Europe and the UK in support of this album. Dates below; (sourced from http://www.gwilymsimcock.com)


FEBRUARY 2014


Tue 4
9.00pm
Unterfahrt, Munich, Germany
http://www.unterfahrt.de


Wed 5
8.00pm
Altes Pfandhaus, Cologne, Germany
http://www.altes-pfandhaus.de/programm/veranstaltungen/duo.html


Thu 6
8.00pm
Dortmund, Domicil, Germany
http://www.domicil-dortmund.de


Fri 7
8.00pm
Burg Vischering, Nr Munster, Germany
Münsterlandmuseum,Burg Vischering,Berenbrock 1,59348 Lüdinghausen
http://www.burg-vischering.de/


Tue 11
7.30pm
The Forge, London
Album Launch for the new duo album on ACT
“Reverie at Schloss Elmau”
http://www.forgevenue.org/whats-on/events/11-feb-14-gwilym-simcock-and-yuri-goloubev-the-forge/


Wed 12
7.30pm
Oxford, St. John the Evangelist
http://www.sje-oxford.org

MARCH 2014


Sun 9
Piacenza Jazz Festival, Italy
Auditorium of G. Nicolini Conservatory


Fri 14
9.00pm
Bia Jazz Festival, Abbiategrasso, Italy


Sat 15
Count Basie Jazz Club, Genova, Italy
http://www.countbasie.it


Sun 23
6.00pm
Teatro Filodrammatici Treviglio (BG), Italy
http://www.trevigliomusica.it


Mon 24
Busto Arsizio (VA), Italy

Reverie at Schloss Elmau

Gwilym Simcock & Yuri Goloubev

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

4 out of 5

Reverie at Schloss Elmau

A perfect summation of the duo's masterful synthesis of jazz and classical elements.

Gwilym Simcock & Yuri Goloubev

“Reverie at Schloss Elmau”

(ACT Music + Vision ACT 9624-2)

2014 sees the launch of ACT’s “Duo Art” strand which will see many of the label’s leading lights coming together on a series of intimate duo recordings. The first to be released is this delightful album from British pianist Gwilym Simcock who is teamed with the Russian born bassist Yuri Goloubev. The pair are old friends who have toured and recorded frequently as part of a trio featuring the excellent young British drummer James Maddren. The trio appear on Simcock’s 2009 double set “Blues Vignette” (Basho Records) which is reviewed elsewhere on this site.

While Simcock has seen his career take off as both a solo artist and as a member of the bands The Impossible Gentlemen and The Lighthouse Trio, Goloubev has kept himself busy not only with his own projects but also as a prolific sideman in the trios of pianists John Law and Alex Hutton and guitarist Maciek Pysz. Nevertheless it’s good to see the pair back together again on this immaculately produced album recorded by engineer Adrian von Ripka at Schloss Elmau, ACT’s cultural retreat in the Bavarian Alps.

In a sense the new album is a follow up to Simcock’s ACT début, the solo piano album “Good Days At Schloss Elmau” which was nominated for the 2011 Mercury Music Prize. As on the solo recording there are pieces on the new album that were inspired by the location and none more so than the opening track “Pastoral”.

The accompanying press release makes much of both men’s backgrounds as classical music scholars   and particularly Goloubev’s twelve year stint as principle double bass for the acclaimed Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble. The classical influence remains strong throughout this album, both in the writing and the playing, but the music is still recognisably jazz, the empathy between the musicians enhanced by the fact that both have perfect pitch.

Both musicians contribute liner notes that helpfully explain something about their compositions. “Pastoral” is one of Simcock’s, written, he informs us “with the beautiful surroundings of Elmau very much in mind”. The music was recorded in March 2013 with snow still on the ground as evidenced by David Forman’s liner photo.
Simcock goes on to state that he views “Pastoral” as a “prelude” to the album and explains that it is constructed around a simple theme that is treated to several harmonic variations throughout the composition. The music varies from the free and ambient to the lushly melodic with Goloubev using both bow and fingers and Simcock occasionally reaching under the lid. The press release suggests that Simcock’s theme exhibits the influence of both Prokofiev and Stravinsky, favourite composers of Simcock’s father, Alan. Be that as it may, the rapport between the two musicians is striking throughout, together with the individual virtuosity and the sheer quality of von Ripka’s recording.

Goloubev’s “Lost Romance” was originally written as an accordion melody. The composer describes it as “nineteenth century romanticism fused with jazz harmonies” plus a “slight contemporary twist of modern classical melodic language”. It’s as romantic and melodic as its predecessor with Goloubev’s virtuoso pizzicato bass particularly impressive.

Simcock’s “Shades Of Pleasure” is a through composed piece with the pianist concentrating on the black keys in one section, white in the other. It’s an exploration of the “colours” of harmony with the composer seeking to elicit an emotional response from the listener. He succeeds brilliantly with yet another beautifully melodic and romantic piece of writing. Goloubev moves between fingers and bow, his arco playing in the latter stages of the piece really tugging at the heartstrings of the listener.

Also from Simcock’s pen, but very different in mood and intention, is the playful “Antics” a piece commissioned in 2012 at the time of the London Olympiad. As Simcock explains the piece was originally written for performance on “fifty old, battered upright pianos around the streets and parks of London and two dancers also performed it with me”. Naturally Elmau’s resident concert grand sounds better than any number of battered old uprights but the essential joyousness of the piece remains. The duo retain the original “bouncy” (Simcock’s word) and rhythmic feel of the piece and as the composer explains “Yuri and myself very much enjoy the rhythmic side of our trio, so this piece was a natural choice to include in the repertoire”.

The prolific Simcock also contributes “A Joy Forever”, which he describes as a “very simple piece, full of space, and using the very special qualities of Yuri’s arco playing”. Like the opening “Pastoral” this is another composition inspired by the surroundings of “Schloss Elmau”, in this case the spaciousness of the building and its location. Goloubev is inspired form throughout, both with and without the bow, his arco and pizzicato solos are both breathtakingly beautiful.

Goloubev’s “Non-Schumann Lied” is a reflection of Goloubev’s love of nineteenth century German composers and also includes a nod to Brahms. There’s more gorgeous pizzicato soloing from the composer and flowingly lyrical, subtly jazz tinged piano from Simcock.

“Flow” is another example of Simcock’s penchant for “writing optimistic, happy music” and he states his intention to create a “soaring feel to the composition overall”. This is achieved in part via Simcock’s gently rippling arpeggios and what the press release describes as a “galloping solo” although to these ears it’s rather more sophisticated than that and reflects the “flow” of the title. Elsewhere there’s the exquisite bowing and pizzicato work of Goloubev, playing in what Simcock describes as “an infeasibly high register”. Indeed there’s a cello like agility and expressiveness about Goloubev’s arco work throughout the album, a quality Simcock describes as “this incredibly rich tenor sound”.

Goloubev’s “Vain Song” was written as a response to Simcock’s own “Plain Song”, a piece that appeared on Simcock’s solo piano album “Good Days At Schloss Elmau”. “Plain Song” has since been performed by the duo and Goloubev also included a version of it on his own album “Standpoint”. Solo pizzicato bass introduces the tune and the piece has something of the simple harmonics and high melodic content of the original. Goloubev speaks of “counteracting” Simcock’s tune but the gorgeously mellifluous “Vain Song” is actually a perfect companion piece with some beautifully lyrical playing from both musicians.

The album closes with “Reverie”, a piece by the 19th century Italian Romantic composer and double bassist Giovanni Bottesini. Selected by Goloubev it’s effectively the title track and forms part of the “standard” classical bass repertoire. Goloubev has adapted it by changing the key to C (it’s traditionally played in G or D) and Simcock’s piano part follows the “jazz charts” the duo derived from the original. Goloubev’s solos on both arco and pizzicato bass are divine, the piece is essentially a feature for him, and he is complemented superbly by the ever tasteful and resourceful Simcock. This arrangement is a perfect summation of the duo’s masterful synthesis of jazz and classical elements.

“Reverie at Schloss Elamau” represents a superb start to ACT’s “Duo Art” series. Subsequent releases will feature the pairings of;
  Philip Catherine (guitar) and Martin Wind (bass)
George Mraz (bass) and Emil Viklicky (piano)
Joachim Kuhn (piano) and Alexey Kruglov (saxophone)
plus more to come.

In the meantime I’m pleased to report that Simcock has recovered from a hand injury (damaged thumb ligaments) and is now back playing live again. He and Goloubev have a number of dates lined up in Europe and the UK in support of this album. Dates below; (sourced from http://www.gwilymsimcock.com)


FEBRUARY 2014


Tue 4
9.00pm
Unterfahrt, Munich, Germany
http://www.unterfahrt.de


Wed 5
8.00pm
Altes Pfandhaus, Cologne, Germany
http://www.altes-pfandhaus.de/programm/veranstaltungen/duo.html


Thu 6
8.00pm
Dortmund, Domicil, Germany
http://www.domicil-dortmund.de


Fri 7
8.00pm
Burg Vischering, Nr Munster, Germany
Münsterlandmuseum,Burg Vischering,Berenbrock 1,59348 Lüdinghausen
http://www.burg-vischering.de/


Tue 11
7.30pm
The Forge, London
Album Launch for the new duo album on ACT
“Reverie at Schloss Elmau”
http://www.forgevenue.org/whats-on/events/11-feb-14-gwilym-simcock-and-yuri-goloubev-the-forge/


Wed 12
7.30pm
Oxford, St. John the Evangelist
http://www.sje-oxford.org

MARCH 2014


Sun 9
Piacenza Jazz Festival, Italy
Auditorium of G. Nicolini Conservatory


Fri 14
9.00pm
Bia Jazz Festival, Abbiategrasso, Italy


Sat 15
Count Basie Jazz Club, Genova, Italy
http://www.countbasie.it


Sun 23
6.00pm
Teatro Filodrammatici Treviglio (BG), Italy
http://www.trevigliomusica.it


Mon 24
Busto Arsizio (VA), Italy


blog comments powered by Disqus

JAZZ MANN FEATURES

Emulsion Festival VII, Day One, Hexagon Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, 02/11/2018.

Emulsion Festival VII, Day One, Hexagon Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, 02/11/2018.

An intriguing evening of music making that once again mixed genres at a whim. Ian Mann on the latest edition of Trish Clowes' Emulsion Festival, w. guest musicians Alexander Hawkins & Percy Pursglove.


Sunday at Wall2Wall Jazz Festival, Market Hall, Abergavenny, 02/09/2018.

Sunday at Wall2Wall Jazz Festival, Market Hall, Abergavenny, 02/09/2018.

Ian Mann enjoys the Jazz Alley and Charity Swing Party events at the Market Hall with performances by Wonderbrass, Tarion, Rebelinx and The Electric Swing Circus.


JAZZ MANN RECOMMENDS