After their highly acclaimed 2014 debut album as a duo, Moderato cantabile, Anja Lechner and François Couturier widen the scope of music even further. The duo sings in a voice of its own, be it with original compositions, free improvisations, drawing upon a Bach cantata or an Argentine folk lament or subtle inclusion of works by Henri Dutilleux, Giya Kancheli or Anouar Brahem. Having internalized influences and repertoire the German cellist and the French pianist not only locate atmospheric and expressive connections among far-flung sources, but also create new music that reflects and refracts its inspirations.
Il Pergolese pays tribute to 18th century composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 – 1736), and considers his relationship to the art music and the popular music of Naples, from a highly contemporary perspective. The text of the Stabat Mater – translated into Neapolitan by Maria Pia De Vito – and the opera arias, are transformed into songs and vivid narrative, open frames providing the key to reinterpreting Pergolesi. François Couturier's arrangements widen Pergolesi's structures, offering space for improvisational interaction. But this is a real group project, a discourse among acoustic sounds, with rhythms of drums and metals, and sampled and real-time electronics. Sound textures grow dense with the richness of instrumental counterpoint or are set free in electronic soundscapes and along coloristic, percussive lines, as cello becomes voice or voice becomes an instrument.
Introduced to each other by mutual friend Dino Saluzzi in 2003, German cellist Anja Lechner and Argentinean guitarist Pablo Márquez have since explored the most diverse repertoire and modes of expression in their concerts. For their first duo album, a conceptual context is provided by the strong tradition of songs with guitar accompaniment prevalent in 19th century Vienna, as Lechner and Márquez play music of Franz Schubert. Many of Schubert’s songs were published in alternative versions with guitar during the composer’s lifetime; in some cases, the guitar version appeared even before the one for piano. Interspersed on the recording, as an echo and commentary to Schubert’s spirit and language, are the graceful Trois Nocturnes originally written for cello and guitar by Friedrich Burgmüller (1806-1874). Die Nacht is issued as Lechner and Márquez embark on a European tour with concerts in Germany, Austria, France, Hungary and Romania.