Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia – Frère Jacques – Round About Offenbach
(ECM 278 1135. CD Review by Chris Parker)
Following on from their treatments of the music of Milanese composer Fiorenzo Carpi (In cerca di cibo) and the self-explanatory Round About Weill, the Italian duo of clarinettist Gianluigi Trovesi and accordionist Gianni Coscia have now turned to the music of a figure somewhat neglected by ‘serious’ observers: Offenbach. In many ways, the German-born French composer of operetta is an ideal choice for this pair, since their music is always characterised by wit, charm and (elegant) vim and pep, never taking itself too seriously and always firmly prioritising entertainment, even fun.
Trovesi’s clarinets (piccolo and alto) are at once agile and full-toned; Coscia’s accordion jaunty and occasionally downright effervescent, and on these selections from La Belle Helène, La Périchole, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and Les Contes d’Hoffmann (interspersed with originals in the spirit of Offenbach), the two men intertwine, strike joyous sparks off each other, and simply revel in each other’s playing to produce an irresistibly enjoyable album, which (as has become customary) comes with a bonus: a thought-provoking essay on the music from Umberto Eco.