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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Tuesday, May 31, 2016

JEAN-LOUIS MATINIER AND MARCO AMBROSINI "Inventio" (ECM)

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Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 5:00 am

Inventio is a strange collaboration, pairing unlikely instruments in a program that matches compositions ranging back to the 16th and 17th centuries with recent pieces from the recording's principals — Jean-Louis Matinier and Marco Ambrosini — that occasionally sound as if they're performed on electronic instruments. (They're not.) Matinier plays the accordion in ways that occasionally recall the instrument's romantic implications while avoiding any pretense to the traditional ethnic music that has adopted it. He teams with Ambrosini, who plays the nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument that uses a short bow on strings and whose pitch is controlled by depressing keys along its neck. Its sound, though much like a violin, is more raw and resonant. Both instruments have orchestral capabilities (the nyckelharpa has drone, melody, and a dozen resonant or harmonic strings), and their overlapping tones can be especially rich and pleasant, as on "Sicilienne," a meditative piece so blended that it sounds as if it comes from a single instrument. As arranged by Matinier and Ambrosini, "Inventio 4," from J.S. Bach's Two-Part Invention No. 4 (BWV 775), becomes an intense dance that moves between major and minor key feels. The stateliness of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's "Qui Est Homo" contrasts with the racing, persistent pulse of the duo's "Taïga." Inventio, a gorgeous recording, makes a seamless, atmospheric program of old and new. 

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