Thursday, February 13, 2014





 Review Tom Mooney


What makes Reverie at Schloss Elmau such a rewarding experience is the opportunity to hear two young musicians at the peak of their powers, demonstrably unafraid to source their inspiration in the past and the present. Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev’s love of German composers and the romanticism of the 19th century is at the heart of Lost Romance and Non Schumann Lied, whereas he wrote Vain Song as a dedication to his partner on this nine track CD.

Gwilym Simock, from Wales, can also dip into the past but he is much more in tune with what is going on around him: thus A Joy Forever mimics the space of Schloss Elmau, the cultural retreat in the Bavarian Alps, as does the openingPastoral, which exudes the panoramic breadth of a sound track.

Simock’s preference for ethereal and vivacious rhythm – cue A Joy Forever andFlow, with Goloubev’s bass in the high register – is fully realised in the jazz counterpoint of Lost Romance.

At the root of the spontaneity which flowers from the tete-a-tete between the  two musicians, with free-interplay when Simock lets loose (Antics, originally conceived to be performed on 50 old pianos in London), is not just counterpoint, but triple and quadruple counterpoint.

A Joy Forever, which has the narrative arch of a story, elegiac and yet mysterious, with Goloubev dictating the twilight pace, intimate and secretive, is a belated conversation between two friends whom – it seems to me – haven’t met in a while.

It has been observed that Goloubev is reminiscent of Jaco Pastorious, probably with Continuum in mind, and never more so on A Joy Forever, which sounds gorgeous, closing with Goloubev switching to fingered bass, which he continues with on Non-Schumann Lied, and here specifically you can appreciate how Goloubev, like Pastorious, can make four strings sing from the heart.

You yearn for recordings like Reverie at Schloss Elmau to blur the boundaries between two musicians of experimental ingenuity and the incadescent border between jazz and classical music. You get the best of both worlds, or maybe jazz and classical are one after all. Does it matter?

Reverie at Schloss Elmau is extraordinary

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