Buffoni CD by Black Pencil, Review by Joan Cochran Sommers.


Buffoni

Black Pencil

Black Pencil

November 2014

by Prof. Joan Sommers





Buffoni

This latest recording titled BUFFONI by the group BLACK PENCIL includes beautifully written and extremely informative liner notes regarding the group and the music performed. Prepared by Jorge Isaac, R. de Man, N. Huijbregts, C. Meijering, E. Monfort, and G. Janssen, the final paragraph describing the group ends as “Buffoni is full of contrast and diversity: adventurous, grotesque and surprising.” You will realize this from the first through the final note performed by the group! It is also magnificent, superlative, and unsurpassed! These words could describe both the performances as well as the choice of repertoire. It is without hesitation that I recommend BUFFONI by BLACK PENCIL to you.

There is a full explanation of the term Buffoni included in the notes which you really must read! Quickly, however, and quoting from the notes, it refers to a group consisting of “professional artists performing with an emphasis on visual humour, either as soloists or as part of a bigger ensemble in a dizzying variety of setups. They made use of music instruments, acrobatics, dance and theatrical imitations. In short, they were artists of many talents.”

The artists in this group are: Jorge Isaac – Blockflute, Artistic Director; Matthijs Koene – Panflute; Esra Pehlivanli – Viola; Marko Kassl – Accordion; and Enric Monfort – Percussion. You may be well assured that these five remarkable people are indeed artists of many talents!

BLACK PENCIL was founded in 2010 and, from the liner notes, I quote, “The name “Black Pencil” stems from the ensemble’s first project, inspired by a remarkable series of miniatures by the painter Mehmet Siyah Kalem (15th century, presumably of Turkish origin). In English, “siyah kalem” literally translates as “black pencil”. Black Pencil focuses on new repertoire with all new works composed especially for the ensemble, as well as an adventurous range of their own arrangements, influenced by different folk cultures. The instrumental core of the ensemble consists of blockflute, panflute, viola, accordion and percussion. The ensemble may also be expanded with live electronics and video, depending on the programme. Black Pencil draws inspiration from the enormous contrasts within folk music and its expression: sometimes complex and powerful and sometimes subtle and soft, yet rich in its simplicity. The mission of the ensemble is the presentation of exciting new music and sparkling improvisations, communicated through a unique instrumental setup.

You will find contemporary composers: Roderik de Man (b.1941); Nico Huijbregts (b.1961); Chiel Meijering (b.1954); Enri Monfort (b.1979); Guus Janssen (b.1951); B.C. Manjunath (b. 1976); as well as Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736); Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer (1692-1766); Domenico Gallo (1730-1768); Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (ca. 1554-1609); and Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) represented on BUFFONI. If you are not familiar with the contemporary composers, read about their backgrounds and you will be quite amazed at the wealth of successful activities as performers as well as composers which they bring to this CD.

This recording is the type which will whet your appetite to learn more about the group BLACK PENCIL as well as the composers and their repertoire. You will come away from listening to their performances with a great appreciation for the music and for the extreme artistry with which it is performed. The pieces move seamlessly from century to century, written and improvisational material, instrument to instrument, 5 voices to 5 bottles, duo to ensembles, all played with impeccable attention to the demands of the music, and all the while holding the rapt attention of every listener.

I hope you will know from these comments that this group is worthy of presentation by the most well-known impresario of chamber music concerts throughout the world. And to have an accordionist in the group is a special gift to all who most especially care for that instrument and its artist performers. BLACK PENCIL demonstrates all possible artistry on BUFFONI.

Every aspect of BUFFONI is extremely well-planned. Congratulations to everyone! It is the combined work of all, not only the musicians, which makes this CD so totally professional. It is important to mention all of the following since this CD is outstandingly produced and packaged:

Recording: Micha de Kanter; Editing and Mix: Matthijs Koene, Jorge Isaac, Roderik de Man; Studio Annelie de Man, Amsterdam; Mastering: Peter Brussee; Master: QPoint Digital Audio, Hilversum; Booklet Editing: Susanne Schulte, Marko Kassl; Photos: Finch Photography, Co Broerse: Artwork: Rainer Schultz, Cologne; www.classic-clips.de CC ClassicClips is a GWK-Label Accordionist Marko Kassl may be contacted at: Markokassl@hotmail.com
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Reviewed by Joan C.Sommers – November 2014

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