Intakt CD 084
The concert of Irène Schweizer (piano) and Pierre Favre (drums) on the festival stage in Ulrichsberg 2003 was a magical event: «In Ulrichsberg, there was a rare energy,» Favre said after the concert. «The trajectory of the music is compelling. Everything forms a single whole.»
The CD Irène Schweizer-Pierre Favre «Ulrichsberg» (Intakt CD 084) documents the entire live set of the Ulrichsberg concerts from May 2, 2003. Not one sound was too much.
The recording is a document of a strong rhymically formed art of improvisation, a beaming joy of playing and a great musical masterwork after working together for a good 40 years.
«Over the years, a friendship has developed that, beyond the music, connects us in many ways. We've been able to maintain a difficult balance between nearness and distance in our work,» says Irène Schweizer in a comprehensive interview in the CD booklet. And Pierre Favre complements her: «That helps keep our encounters and our concerts fresh, and we're constantly surprised. Without risk, there isn't any living communication.»
CATALOGUE IRÈNE SCHWEIZER
Two free-improv titans at work – and both Swiss. Percussionist Favre has been a huge presence in Europe since the 1960s, and his relationship with pianist Schweizer goes back to 1966. A hard-hitting pianist who also brings delicacy and shape to unstructured music, Schweizer ripples seamlessly throughout. She lets Favre fill shrewdly scattered open spaces, powers into jazzy pulses, disappears into quiet meditations, broods in booming chords, and delivers as dazzling a display as any in her field. Favre unleashes a percussion showcase of earthquake rumbles and chattering stickwork on a dedication to the bassist Peter Kowald. Unwritten Messages is an investigation of under-the-lid pluckings. Nomades and Waltz for Joyce get close to free-jazz Bill Evans. The kind of free jazz that makes the idiom new friends, and likely to be one of the albums of the year.
John Fordham, The Guardian, England, Febr. 04