From ECM: Special Offers of DVD’s

“This year’s final special offer features selected ECM-related DVDs. All December offers will be available until the end of this month.

Sounds and Silence – Travels With Manfred Eicher

DVD release of the acclaimed documentary film which won the Berner Film Prize 2009 and is nominated for the Swiss Film Prize. It follows ECM producer Manfred Eicher to sessions, concerts and festivals around the globe, the search for sounds leading from Gräfelfing to Athens, from Udine to Carthage, from Tallinn to Pernes-les-Fontaines, from Copenhagen to Salta, Argentina. Featured musicians include Arvo Pärt, Eleni Karaindrou, Dino Saluzzi, Anja Lechner, Jan Garbarek, Kim Kashkashian, Nik Bärtsch, Gianluigi Trovesi, Anouar Brahem, Marilyn Mazur and more.

Jean-Luc Godard Anne-Marie Miéville Four Short Films
ECM 5001

De l’origine du XXIe siècle
The Old Place
Liberté et patrie
Je vous salue, Sarajevo

DVD with 120-page hardbound book.
NTSC, Region Code: 0 (world wide), Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles English, Deutsch, 85 min.

ECM Cinema, a new DVD series, is launched with a release dedicated to the work of filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. It brings together four short films made between 1993 and 2002. Four short films, as writer Michael Athen notes, ‘that encompass everything: art and freedom, presence and memory, violence and passion. Four symphonies composed of images, tones, quotes, and soundtracks. Four essays in which the cinema itself seems to speak to us, in friendly dialogue with painting, literature and music – as a brother to all the arts.’

The release of this DVD coincides with a major retrospective of Godard’s work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and also marks fifteen years of close collaboration between JLG and ECM Records. The label has previously released complete soundtracks of Godard’s Nouvelle Vague and Histoire(s) du Cinéma, inviting the listener to consider the filmmaker as a ‘composer’, a master of sound-collage. This uncommon perspective is one that record reviewers have enthusiastically endorsed. When the films are experienced in their entirety, it is plain enough that JLG is a master of montage at all levels and in the broadest sense: ‘The lines may be by Bergson or Blanchot, Borges or Thomas Mann, the images by Monet or de Staël, Malevich or Rothko, the music by Beethoven or Ravel, Keith Jarrett or Hans Otte – what counts is the way in which Godard appropriates them…’ (from an essay in the accompanying book).

As Godard has said, ‘Manfred Eicher began our relationship by sending me some music… And after listening I wrote to him and asked him to send me more records of his company. And I had the feeling, the way he was producing sound, that we were more or less in the same country: he with sounds, me with images. In fact some of the records brought me to a picture called ‘Nouvelle Vague’ and later other ones … and I began to imagine things due to that kind of music.’

After Nouvelle Vague there was Allemagne Neuf Zéro, Hélas pour moi, JLG/JLG – Autoportrait de décembre, For Ever Mozart, Eloge de l’amour, Notre Musique, the epic video series Histoire(s) du Cinéma, plus short films including The Old Place, De l’origine de XXIe siècle and Je vous salue, Sarajevo – all with music from ECM. In the Four Short Films collection alone there are excerpts from ECM recordings of Arvo Pärt, György Kurtág, Hans Otte, Federico Mompou, Tomasz Stanko, Dino Saluzzi, Keith Jarrett, Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling and more. What has this music brought to his work? JLG: ‘Much, very much.’

Yet the music is but one element in Godard’s unique mix. As Manfred Eicher observed recently, ‘What makes things so different and special is the way Godard is able to juxtapose sound, light, text and music. His sense of rhythm, inhaling and exhaling, is remarkable, as is his sense of timing. His artistic work is often a point of reference for me, for instance, the sculptural quality of his films and the depth of aesthetic and artistic information they convey.’

The information spills and bleeds through these four films, independent pictures that are also interconnected, with themes and sub-themes carried from one work to the next…

The DVD is issued with a 120-page hardbound book, incorporating the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard’s and Anne-Marie Miéville’s narration (in French and English translation), an essay by Michael Althen (in German, French and English), and more than 70 stills from the film, in black and white and colour.

Eleni Karaindrou Elegy of the Uprooting – Concert DVD
ECM New 5506

In March 2005 Eleni Karaindrou presented what she called ‘a scenic cantata’ at the Megaron in Athens, a tour through her music for film and theatre, with musical themes newly combined and contrasted. A live audio recording, Elegy of the Uprooting, was issued in 2006: ‘The two-CD set interweaves excerpts of her music from 13 different scores spanning more than two decades, although the irresistible congruence of the music is such that newcomers to Karaindrou’s oeuvre would be forgiven for thinking this is newly composed. [The music] seduces by its profound beauty, tenderness and candour.’. – International Record Review. Here is the video document of the event.

Maria Farantouri voice
Vangelis Christopoulos oboe
Socratis Sinopoulos Constantinople lyra, laouto
Maria Bildea harp
Konstantinos Raptis accordion, bayan
Sergiu Nastasa violin
Renato Ripo violoncello
Stella Gadedi flute
Nikos Guinos clarinet
Sopcratis Anthis trumpet
Spyros Kazianis bassoon
Vangelis Skouras French horn
Aris Dimitriadis mandolin
Christos Tsiamoulis ney
Panos Dimitrakopoulos kanonaki
Andreas Katsiyiannis santouri
Andreas Papas bendir, daouli
Eleni Karaindrou piano
Hellenic Radio and Television Choir
Antonis Kontogeorgiou choirmaster
Camerata Orchestra
Alexandros Myrat conductor

Keith Jarrett Tokyo Solo
ECM 5501

Tokyo Solo begins where Radiance left off.The final four tracks of Keith Jarrett’s best-selling 2005 CD release featured music from the pianist’s 150th concert in Japan, a solo performance at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Festival Hall.

This DVD, directed by Kanama Kawachi, and licensed from Video Arts Japan, reprises the complete solo concert, and includes more than an hour of previously unreleased Jarrett improvisation. It is the first film of a Jarrett concert to be made available by ECM (two previous solo videos, from the 1980s, were distributed elsewhere).

Jarrett has been a regular visitor to Japan since 1974 when his performances with the ‘American Quartet’ (with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian) as well as a solo concert in Tokyo established him as a major figure there instantly. In 1976, his entire Japanese tour was recorded as The Sun Bear Concerts, an enduring, powerful statement, unique in the annals of improvisation. Personal Mountains, with his ‘European Quartet’ (with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen) at a creative peak, was recorded live in Tokyo in 1979. In 1981, Jarrett drew an audience of 24,000 to the Budokan stadium for a solo concert. Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, he performed in Japan in a wide variety of contexts – as solo player, as leader of the [Standards] trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, as interpreter of classical music and contemporary composition. Albums continued to be made there – from Jarrett’s harpsichord account of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (recorded in Nagano), to the standards of Tokyo ’96 to the intense free group playing of ‘Always Let Me Go’ in 2001.

There is no question that the focused attention of an extremely loyal Japanese public has often inspired Keith Jarrett to exceptional performances. The pianist addressed this in a programme note for the 2002 tour. ‘The Japanese public has always welcomed my music with an open mind and heart. It’s an honour to feel this respect for my work. I haven’t played 150 concerts in any geographic location as contained as Japan, yet I always feel as though I have a big, open workshop for the music here. Thank you for listening.’

As with Radiance, Jarrett’s Tokyo Solo is built up from discrete ‘episodes’ or chapters, self-contained pieces of music that add up to a larger shape The moods roved through are many. Yet Jarrett’s improvisational instincts always guide him to the creation of form, of instant composing in a real sense. Kanama Kawachi captures the remarkable process in this film from Tokyo’s striking Metropolitan Festival Hall (built in 1961 to the specifications of Kunio Mayekawa, father of modern Japanese architecture).

At the concert’s end, Jarrett plays three ‘standards’ – his arrangement of the Irish traditional tune “Danny Boy”, Jerome Kern’s “Old Man River”, and “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me”, the latter associated with two very different jazz greats, Art Tatum and Count Basie.”

The solo piano concert format established by Keith Jarrett in the 1970s has led to some of his best loved recordings, including 1975’s The Köln Concert, which has sold more than three million copies, as well as Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne, Paris Concert, Vienna Concert, La Scala and more. The next ECM CD release by Keith Jarrett, as yet untitled, will feature the recording of his New York Carnegie Hall solo concert of September 2005. Release is scheduled for autumn 2006.

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette Live In Japan 93 / 96
ECM 5504-5

Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock double-bass
Jack DeJohnette drums

Concluding a celebratory year for the Standards Trio, a second specially-priced double DVD package of Tokyo concerts. Standards III/IV brings together the films Live At Open Theater East 1993 and Concert 1996 for the first time on ECM. The 1993 set is an open air concert that tackles a large slice of jazz history from Basin Street Blues to Sonny Rollins’ Oleo, Jarrett’s own The Cure and much more. The 1996 date is the filmed footage that corresponds to the trio’s Tokyo ‘96 CD but adds extra material – including a glowing All The Things You Are and a jaunty account of Ray Bryant’s Tonk.”

Heinz Bütler, Manfred Eicher Holozän(?)

Included in the offering, but all text is in German, so I cannot relate anything about this DVD.

ECM might just be the finest recording company in the world.