FABRIZIO CASSOL — Pitié ! – Inspiré par la passion selon Saint Mathieu de J.S Bach (review)

FABRIZIO CASSOL — Pitié ! – Inspiré par la passion selon Saint Mathieu de J.S Bach album cover Album · 2008 · Third Stream Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Sean Trane
During Cassol’s residence at Brussel’s La Monnaie opera, he kept his Aka Moon relationship alive, not only by managing to have the band play three or fpour concerts in the opera house (it’s a first to my knowledge), but also involving the band in his first two “solo” ventures. This project is based on Bach’s piece of St Matthew’s Passion, but while its modernization passes through some jazzmen (Aka Moon), it’s hard to call/tag this type of work as “Third Stream”, though it wouldn’t be unreasonable either to do so. It’s also not unreasonable to view Pitié as the logical follow-up of his previous work of VSPRS, thaty predates this by two or three years.

With a duet of soprano/mezzo singers up front (sometimes joined by a counter-tenor), the “band” seems to consist at most times of eight musicians, of which two are classical string players and two (sometimes three) are wind-players: Malik’s flute and Cassol’s sax.

Opening on a semi-jazzy Prelude, the project alternates between pure classic/operatic pieces (Heiland, Herzen Schenken) and much more experimental or mixed tracks (Buss Und Rau, Blute Nur; etc…), where the bass and drums are adding a dimension previously unheard of before (at least to me), that it gave me a whole new outlook on the previously-thought dusty and immutable medium. Nowhere is this fascination of mine as strong as on the Gerne Will Ich Mich or the Sturm pieces, where the Aka rhythm section induce an energy previously impossible, and some wide avenues seems suddenly to break open. Having never heard Bach’s original version, I can only wonder if the few mid-eastern intonations in Cassol’s version (namely in Mensch’s vocals) might be a slight provocation or not.

My main gripe with Cassol’s updated Pitié, is that the overall length (80-mins) makes it unbearable and has me worn out by the 2/3-mark, if not sometimes sooner, and going to the end will create an overdose, with a serious risk of allergy… Sometimes, less is more.
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