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Elegi by Michael Andréasson

Swedish trumpet player Michael Andréasson has chosen to record an album featuring calm, unadorned, burnished interpretations of elegies from countries around the world. As such, the music is mournful, thoughtful, at time liturgical so much so that any deviations into the daring of improvisation would appear to be disrespectful. The allowance for space, and even the quietude that inhabits much of the music, is consistent with the brooding nature associated with the stereotype of some Scandinavian music, particularly as recorded by ECM. Andréasson certainly doesn’t dispel any impressions of melancholy or stillness, for Elegi consists of unhurried, ruminative trumpet solos rising above backup by organ, choir or string quintet.

Andréasson’s melodic approach to all of the tracks on Elegi values beauty of tone and transcendence of spirit over technical challenge, and at times the tracks have the feeling of a military funeral, particularly on "Amazing Grace" and "Londonderry Air." Indeed, on "Amazing Grace," the addition of Scottish drummer Urban Grip and the feel of bagpipers leave no doubt of Andréasson’s intention of evoking the solemnity and profundity of such an event.

Some of the other tunes on Elegi possess definite spiritual bases, such as "Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring" and "Ave Maria," on which Andréasson releases flowing obbligato lines, possessed of purity of tone and charged with underlying emotion, over the melody played on organ. The same feeling of respectful tribute infuses Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo’s "Concierto De Aranjuez, Adagio," one of those well-known melodies that few listeners can name in spite of their recognition of the theme.

Five of the tracks on Elegi are Swedish in origin, and they are consistent with the contemplative nature of the entire CD, colored with rich glows by Andréasson’s straightforward approach as organ, strings or a choir elevate the music to a spiritual realm. On Elegi, though improvisation seldom occurs, Michael Andréasson taps into the trumpet’s potential for creating an atmosphere of respect and humility during some of life’s most meaningful ceremonies.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Michael Andréasson
  • CD Title: Elegi
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Gason
  • Tracks: Elegi; Gammal Fäbodpsalm Från Dalarna; Allt Under Himmelens Fäste; Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring; Så Skimrande Var Aldrig Havet; Amazing Grace; Londonberry Air; Ave Maria; Ack Värmeland Du Sköna; Concierto De Aranjuez, Adagio
  • Musicians: Michael Andréasson (trumpet, flugelhorn); Maria Hultén, Staffan Larson, Ingvor Smith (violin); Elinor Williams, Michael Larson (viola); Asa Forsberg (cello); Mattias Frostenson, Jonas Wellander (bass); Karin Bäckström, Per-Ove Larsson, Johan Lindström, Olle Johansson (organ); Urban Grip (Scottish drum); Engelbrekt Motett Choir; Stockholm Brass
  • Rating: Two Stars
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