Published Feb 20, 2015Balkan music nudged its way into the public consciousness many years back with the appearance of ensembles like the harmonically gorgeous Bulgarian State Vocal Choir and Ivo Papasoff's rhythmically ferocious Wedding Band. Since then it has occupied a comfortable niche in the "World Music" realm, rarely venturing from the tried and true. This release more than challenges that comfort.
The Clarinet Summit in question was a project executed with care and respect, bringing masters from Greece, Moldavia, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Germany. The music itself is a combination of traditional melodies, original compositions and improvisations all fully arranged and orchestrated. What results is a remarkably sophisticated yet deeply emotional work. While the heart is moved by beauty and sadness on "Nostalgia," tickled by the hilarious skronk of "Snake Lick Jab" and the noise blasts of "Sirba de Concert," the mind is completely engaged by the stunning complexity of arrangement that seems to ebb and flow throughout.
This is a complete work of music that honours the depth of folk tradition yet takes everything up a notch with virtuoso performances, risk-taking and intensely musical scores. It's highly recommended. (Piranha)