Cadenza del Crepuscolo


Feb 2023

The meaning of "cadenza del crepuscolo" ("dusk cadenza") can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The most profound is the one corresponding with the implicitly slow flux of thoughts and reflections that emerge as we sense the day fading away, possibly in a moment of somewhat regretful oscillation between an unknown tomorrow, what we have already experienced and now miss, and the unexpressed potential of what we long for, but have not yet achieved (and perhaps never will). The sympathetic musicians contributing to this recording came seriously close to a flawless synthesis of such subtle, if excruciatingly painful individual circumstances. The organic development of their spontaneous interaction adheres to an intuitively composed logical thread: certain structures appear predetermined even if they’re not at all, the variable instrumental undercurrents directed toward a rather rational ideal of event sequence. Through vivid improvised signals, the instrumentalists involuntarily rescue the audience from any possibility of meditative torpor, still highlighting a vague perception of sheer immensity. The environment that drives all evolutionary processes, whether strictly musical or unfathomably transcendental, is one of a nearly overwhelming awareness of the aggregate resonance around which the universal laws revolve. In that regard, it’s nice to recognize Gianni Mimmo's impactful viewpoint when he refers to dusk as "a parting gift of light", although selected textural convergences may conjure remote associations with other composers of the ineluctable - think Gavin Bryars, William Basinski, or even the Brian Eno of "Fullness Of Wind'' - in the listener's mind. As the record ends, we’re under the impression of having received an equally wondrous present: a modest beauty that struggles to get out of its protective shell, but which one smiles at without hesitation or fear.

Massimo Ricci – Touching Extremes


1. Gliding over silent seas
2. Cadenza del crepuscolo
3. Disvelamento del tenebroso Orione
4. Deep fissures
5. Triste Andromeda
6. Il tempo dell'abbandono


OVE VOLQUARTZ: bass and contra-bass clarinets
GIANNI MIMMO: soprano saxophone
PEER SCHLECHTA: pipe organ
JOHN HUGHES: double-bass

Music by J. Hughes, G. Mimmo, P.  Schlechta, O. Volquartz
Recorded at Neustädter Kirche, Hofgeismar, Germany on November the 8th, 2021
Sound engineering, recording, mixing and mastering: Franz Wagner
Cover photo: “Monroe St., NYC - Almost Notturno” by Gianni Mimmo
Inside photos: John Hughes by Cristina Marx, Peer Schlechta by Nicola Watschong, Ove Volquartz by Rolf Schoellkopf, Gianni Mimmo by Uli Templin
Liner Note: Massimo Ricci [Touching]
Graphics: Nicola Guazzaloca
Executive production: Gianni Mimmo for Amirani Records

Percorsi Musciali
Ettore Garzia

Per cadenza del crepuscolo l'”avvertimento” arriva dalla sostanza armonica. Il quartetto di Peer Schlechta al pipe organ, Ove Volquartz a clarinetto basso e contrabbasso, John Hughes al contrabbasso e Mimmo al soprano, deve rappresentare un oscuro e abrasivo mondo della rappresentazione che sembra aver preso ispirazione dalla mitologia greca e da un senso generale dello smarrimento. Sulla base di questa premessa tutto l’impianto musicale si adegua con note e suoni che si estendono nello spazio: gli strumenti si coordinano per profusioni dronistiche o svolgimenti melodici atmosferici che propongono uno stato di offuscamento che prelude però a qualcosa di importante.
In Disvelamento del tenebroso Orione appare una narrazione complicata fatta di frammentazioni e di armonici pronunciati che ci proiettano in un post-moderno dell’arte; siamo perciò lontani dalle presentazioni di Orione in cerca del sole del pittore Poussin e molto più vicini all’improvvisazione di Zorn (penso soprattutto al tipo di evoluzioni all’organo di Schlechta). Le pulsazioni corali di Triste Andromeda sono un piccolo retaggio di minimalismo trasferito completamente in una struttura improvvisativa con una seconda parte di soprano jazz dal tenore arcano (Mimmo in mezzo ad un clima di smorzamento sonoro), mentre lo stravolgimento umorale di Il tempo dell’abbandono accoglie l’enfasi camerale nel sentimento complessivo del lavoro (Hughes con strati d’arco e Volquartz con giri circolari di clarinetto basso).
Le istruzioni di cadenza del crepuscolo optano per un’alterazione e un cambiamento di stato che si spera sia in positivo. Se è vero che per genesi e risultati la musica costruisce un idioma legato al disorientamento, è anche vero che essa lascia spazio ad una riflessione: nell’Odissea Orione è felice e va a caccia, Andromeda viene liberata e diventa una costellazione, la fine del crepuscolo è propedeutica ad un rivolgimento in chiaro della vita.

Jazz Word
Ken Waxman

A six-part suite that defines the interlocking textures of a twilight interlude, Cadenza del crepuscolo finds four improvisers creating restrained undulations to express dusk’s changeable shadings. Contributing are Italian soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo, US bassist John Hughes and two Germans: bass clarinetist Ove Volquartz and pipe organist Peer Schlechta. Affiliations range from Harri Sjöström to Cecil Taylor to Olaf Rupp in free music, with Volquartz and Schlechta also working as a notated music duo.

Layered and concentrated, the exposition fades in and out as pressurized organ drones chalumeau register clarinet tones and infrequent string stops thicken the result until saxophone trills cut through the mist like warning horn blasts in the open sea. Static and sinuous in parts, respites include Volquartz’s basement level counterpoint to Mimmo’s emphasized bent notes or Hughes resonating string thumps response to the saxophonist’s circular breathing. A midpoint interlude of skywards shooting miasma on “Disvelamento Del Tenebroso Orione” is characterized by the organist widening the sound field with more pressurized air to integrate Mimmo’s squeaky altissimo runs and abrasive tongue slaps into the darkening structure. Constantly augmenting the compression and aided by mid-range strums from the bassist the program reaches a crescendo during “Triste Andromeda” signaled by lyrical reed twitters, first replicated then obliterated with tremolo glissandi from Schlechta. Bell-like tolling from pipe ranks complete the sound portrait after which reed shrills are calmed to treble tones and the piece subsides into musical darkness. Mood rather than movement, the completed program sonically replicates the atmospheric changes it set out to reflect.

Point of Departure
Marc Medwin

This is really dark stuff! Of course, the “dusk” in the title should provide a clue to the sounds herein, but we seem to be thrust far beyond that transitional moment of day marrying night into the sordid depths. From darkness it arises, it moans, and writhes its way into shadowy existence and the various peaks prove illusory, leading ultimately back to the depths from which each sonic object has emerged. That the quartet of soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmio, clarinetist Ove Volquartz, organist Peer Schlechta, and bassist John Hughes manage to wring beauty from so much controlled fire and reverberant sludginess is to their credit.

Annotator Massimo Ricci is astute to observe the seemingly composed elements at play in this single piece of more than 40 minutes. Like the early Art Ensemble of Chicago’s People in Sorrow or the first side of Univers Zero’s monumental Heresie, this music emerges in glacially concentric textural waves of very gradually increasing rhythmic and contrapuntal activity. Listen at 7:39 to be immersed in the moment at which drone and chord slowly morph into something approaching, while never quite becoming, solos. Mimmio is the first to move beyond simple tone and timbre swells into the realm of motive and melody. His high-register repetitions and purposefully tentative explorations of breathy pitch, amidst the complex backlit drone supplied by the others, provide one of the album’s most beautiful and quietly harrowing moments. Hughes and Volquartz engage in similarly tortoisian banter a few minutes later, Volquartz’s melodies taking on vigor and purpose until the others drop out, leading the way to the rhythmic interplay that guides the music forward from about 15:40.

When the heights of expressionistic terror are reached, with Mimmo and Volquarts screaming for all they’re worth, it seems as if limits have been reached before the music’s half-way point has arrived. Schlechta now ups the ante by entering a phase of multifarious pulse and nearly aperiodic repetition, fostering a spirit of collective improvisation whose frenetic motion pervades many succeeding events. Various groupings provide articulate color, while register and technique blurred toward inseparability with volume a volatile force in constant flux. With a diminuendo and gradual decrease in activity, the music seems poised to reenter its birthplace, but at 33:55, a mystical near-silence ensues. Like the end of Mahler’s last completed symphony, wisps of sound serve as fragile supports, staving off complete stagnation.

A final rally proves ephemeral, but the concluding gestures vanguard the mystical once again, a calmly rapturous exit capping a harrowing experience. All is captured expertly in a generously reverberant church acoustic without which the whole thing would be an abject failure. Fortunately, all performative and production elements are aligned, creating an environment in which notions of boundary, genre, and dorm are both reenforced and refreshingly negated.

Alessandro Bertinetto

L’incipit, ma anche la continuazione, dell’album è di sapore scelsiano. L’impasto sonoro, i registri, la profondità, l’andatura densa e l’atmosfera mistica…. Tanti sono gli aspetti musicali che mi ricordano lo stile del grande musicista di Arcola. D’altronde Scelsi nelle sue composizioni attraversava l’improvvisazione: il suo spirito musicale era vicino alle sperimentazioni di Evangelisti e del Gruppo d’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza; e all’improvvisazione, e a ciò che significa guardare all’improvvisazione come guida per una sensibilità musicale creativa, anzitutto votata alla ricerca e al rispetto del suono, guardano anche Gianni Mimmo (sax soprano) e gli altri protagonisti di questo ispirato album: Ove Volquartz (clarinetti basso e contrabbasso), Peer Schlechta (organo a canne), Hohn Hughes (contrabbasso). I riverberi della Neustädter Kirche dove il concerto è stato registrato contribuiscono a dare alla musica una solennità che non scema anche quando l’intreccio strumentale si fa più nervoso e la calma tesa dell’inizio si increspa in un vortice di richiami. Come nella musica di Scelsi a dominare è una articolazione della spazialità del suono che avvolge l’ascoltatore, talvolta cullandolo, talaltra scuotendolo. Un ottimo lavoro che, nonostante il titolo, non dev’essere per forza ascoltato sul far della sera.

Macieij Lewenstein,

Due to courtesy of Ove I got this phenomenal album, recorded at Neustädter Kirche, Hofgeismar, Germany in November 2021. 
Ove is joined here by a fantastic quartet, with Gianni Mimmo on soprano, Peer Schlechta on pipe organ, and John Hughes on double bass. "Dusk crepuscule",as Massimo Ricci explains in the liner notes, has many possible meaning, but the most profound one is  “slow flux of thoughts and reflections that emerge as we sense the day fading away”
The music in effect is slow, quiet, repetitive with elements of minimalism and ambient. Indeed, Massimo Ricci mentions in his notes associations to Gavin Byars, William Basinky, or even Brian Eno.
The quartet plays 6 pieces of medium length. I was already "thrown on my knees" with the opening minimalist
"Gliding over silent seas", with incredible synergy of all four instrumentalists. The title track, “Cadenza del crepuscolo" keeps the similar spirit and moods, but has a touch of ancient music. Again consonances and dissonance between contra-bass clarinet and soprano are
exquisite. I dig also "Triste Andromeda", seven minutes long cosmic track, with particularly interesting double bass lines.
The closing "Il tempo dell'abbandono" is also worth any sin, especially for the beautiful pipe organ parts. 
And, the super beautiful dialogue of reeds. For me, this is one of the best recordings in its category!

Blow Up
Nazim Comunale

Contrabbasso, sax soprano, organo a canne, clarinetto basso e contrabbasso: un quartetto per la fine dei tempi che plana su mari silenziosi (Gliding over silent seas). Improvvisando a un passo dal silenzio (Cadenza del Crepuscolo): cittadini di cieli danteschi (Deep Fissures), gli strumentisti paiono animati da una febbre sottile che li porta a vagare come personaggi di Tarkovskij. Il disco e la cronaca celeste (Triste Andromeda) di un viaggio alla ricerca del primo, dell’ultimo suono, da qualche parte tra William Basinski, partiture sacre, il doom-jazz (il jazz come destino?) e pellicole cosmiche, interiori.

Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg

Voici encore un rare Objet Volant New Improvisé, assemblage instrumental tout à fait inusité dans ce domaine. Ça nous change de l’évidence des sentiers battus. L’organiste Peer Schlechta et le clarinettiste basse / contrebasse Ove Volquartz travaillent ensemble dans des projets peu communs comme il arrive souvent aux improvisateurs Germaniques habitant dans des villes de province. Leur collaboration a laissé quelques traces discographiques mémorables. Un long trio orgue d’église clarinette basse et vièle chinoise Er-Hu jouée par le percussionniste japonais Sabu Toyozumi in « Kosai Yujyo » (2CD Improvising Beings). Leur duo Volquartz – Schechta « Dreizweit » (Setola Di Maiale). Music for Two Organs & Two Basses avec Ove et Chris Cundy aux clarinettes basses, Peer à l’orgue d’église et le compositeur Thanos Chrysakis à l’orgue positif (Aural Terrains). Avec cette Cadence du crépuscule, Ove et Peer se surpassent en compagnie du contrebassiste John Hughes et du saxophoniste soprano Gianni Mimmo, lui-même responsable du label Amirani dont c’est le 72ème album et sûrement un des plus intrigants et réussis. Ove et Gianni ont travaillé ensemble et enregistré deux albums avec les pianistes Gianni Lenoci ( R.I.P. Reciprocal Uncles - Glances & Many Avenues / Amirani) et Yoko Miura (Air Current Setola di Maiale). 
La musique se développe en suspens dans l’espace, orchestre aérien basé sur des drones graves et mouvants, une ambiance majestueuse remplissant l’espace auditif enregistrée dans la Neustädter Kirche Hofgeismar, la même où avait été enregistrés leurs autres albums communs cités plus haut. Six morceaux entre 9 et 5 minutes et des pour un total de 40 :43. Chaque morceau semble avoir un parfum d’éternité comme Gliding over Silent Seas avec les notes graves soutenues de l’orgue, la vibration d’une note de la grosse corde de la contrebasse et les mouvements lents secrets de la clarinette contrebasse. Grince-t-elle ou s’agit-il d’un tube de l’orgue ? Les registres choisis par Schlechta sont merveilleusement indiqués. Drones, tremblements et bourdonnements qui s’agrègent striés par quelques crescendi du souffle de l’énorme clarinette et des vibrations grésillantes du ou des tubes. Plus loin , les musiciens s’ingénient à diversifier les sonorités, à moduler clusters et souffles conjugués et tournoyants de la grosse machine à air, à étirer les harmoniques pures du sax soprano, à boucler une super respiration circulaire de l’anche, pizzicati gargantuesques ou frottements aigus oscillant près du chevalet, claquement de l’anche de la clarinette basse, ostinati de la contrebasse qui trouvent un écho à la clarinette basse. Des interactions subtiles et diantrement efficaces s’insèrent méthodiquement pour relancer, par exemple, une intervention splendide du clarinettiste aigu-grave qui en appellent une autre le relayant dans l’aigu. Merveilleux contrepoints à l’orgue avec des sonorités intrigantes. Pas une longueur, une précision dans le jeu et un sens des proportions et de la dynamique . Et surtout , du jamais entendu entre « abstraction austère» et lyrisme émouvant et aussi monumental. Ce genre de trésor est indispensable pour la santé mentale des suiveurs de la cause free-jazz – free improvisation sans œillères ni virus idéologico-sémantique. Renversant !!

Avant Music News
Daniel Barbiero

Cadenza del Crepuscolo is, as its title suggests, a recording that has a twilight feeling—it is the audio analogue of an abstract painting of predominantly dark colors. The ensemble that recorded it is a quartet of John Hughes on double bass; Gianni Mimmo on soprano saxophone; Peer Schelechta on pipe organ; and Ove Volquartz on bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. Already, the instrumentation betrays a bias toward the lower end of the sound spectrum, with the single high-register instrument paradoxically emphasizing the tonal heaviness of the other three. And the pipe organ, double bass, and bass clarinets do often play in a bloc of low-pitched, densely dissonant harmonies laid out in long sustained notes. These thick washes of sound are punctuated by single lines alternating between the languid and the knotty; at those moments when individual voices break out into an animated polyphony, the music takes a dramatic and rather unexpected turn.

Phontas Troussas

Ο αμερικανός κοντραμπασίστας John Hughes, ο ιταλός σοπρανίστας Gianni Mimmo, ο οργανίστας (εκκλησιαστικό όργανο) Peer Schlechta και ο γερμανός μπάσο-κοντραμπάσο κλαρινίστας Ove Volquartz (κάποιοι ίσως τον ξέρουν από τους πιονιέρους της kraut-jazz Annexus Quam) συνεργάζονται εδώ σ’ ένα CD βινυλιακής διάρκειας (40:43) και έξι κομματιών, ηχογραφημένο στην εκκλησία της γερμανικής κοινότητας Neustädter, στις 8 Νοεμβρίου του 2021.

Το άλμπουμ αυτό, ο ήχος του δηλαδή, καθορίζεται από ορισμένα στοιχεία. Κατ’ αρχάς από τον χώρο, την εκκλησία, που παρέχει μία πολύ συγκεκριμένη ηχητική, με συγκεκριμένες αναδράσεις, που προσδίδουν στην εγγραφή ένα κάπως αλλόκοτο χρώμα.
Έπειτα από τα μπάσα όργανα (κοντραμπάσο, μπάσο κλαρίνο και κοντραμπάσο κλαρίνο), που δημιουργούν συχνά ένα πομπώδες, αλλά χαμηλής έντασης continuo, πάνω στο οποίο πατάει όλη η κατασκευή.
Τρίτον, από ένα «παρεμβατικό» όργανο, που είναι το σοπράνο σαξόφωνο και τέταρτον από ένα όργανο (το εκκλησιαστικό), που έχει έναν υπαινικτικό και υπόγειο ρόλο, παρεμβαίνοντας με πολύ ιδιαίτερους τρόπους.
Το άκουσμα μπορείς να πεις πως γειτνιάζει με το ambient, είναι κάπως «παγερό», ενώ δεν είναι λίγες, ούτε ασήμαντες οι αυτοσχεδιαστικές παρεκβάσεις του, που σε επαναφέρουν σε πιο αναμενόμενες, τέλος πάντων, καταστάσεις.
Οπωσδήποτε ο συντονισμός των τεσσάρων οργανοπαικτών είναι εκείνο, που ανυψώνει τελικώς το “Cadenza del Crepuscolo” στο επίπεδο ενός ξεχωριστού και γιατί όχι μοναδικού ηχογραφήματος, με κομμάτια σαν το εισαγωγικό “Gliding over silent seas” ή το “Triste Andromeda” να εκπλήσσουν με τον τρόπο που αποτυπώνονται οι χαμηλές συχνότητες, δημιουργώντας τελείως υποβλητικές καταστάσεις.
Μπορεί η ηχογράφηση να συμβαίνει μέσα σε εκκλησία, όμως το άκουσμα ουκ ολίγες φορές μοιάζει... ανίερο (ασυζητητί, σαν σάουντρακ σε ταινία τρόμου).