Paolo Fresu A Filetta Corsican Voices - Mistico Mediterraneo 

Jean-Claude Acquaviva with solemnity and lustrous harmony

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Paolo Fresu A Filetta Corsican Voices - Mistico Mediterraneo
ECM

There are many challenges to describing the music here. Jean-Claude Acquaviva has directed and composed for the Corsican male choir, A Filetta, for three decades. But without a familiarity with a clearly deep-rooted choral tradition, who can say what's new, what's old, what's conservative, what's bold? But to say that it's grand and majestic — that's a no-brainer. To this listener, the only rough comparisons are to the solemnity of Gregorian chant crossed with the kind of lustrous harmonies and intertwining melody lines of Bulgarian women's choirs (like the one that recorded the surprise 1980s hit Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares). And the emphasis in the foregoing is on the roughness of the comparison. For one thing, this seven-voice ensemble is far more intimate (and emotional) than typical Gregorian and Bulgarian ensembles. But in addition to the choir, we have Daniele di Bonaventura on bandoneón and the ostensible leader Paolo Fresu on trumpet, flugelhorn and the odd electronic effect. Fresu's a wonderful player, a minimalist descendant of Miles (think Sketches of Spain) by way of Enrico Rava and Jon Hassell, perhaps. But his presence — like that of di Bonaventura — is so restrained and respectful of the choir that it's hard to say who's accompanying whom. In this song cycle, largely composed by Acquaviva, that's no complaint at all.

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