Eberhard Weber: Orchestra (ECM 1374)

 

Eberhard Weber
Orchestra

Eberhard Weber bass, percussion, keyboards
Herbert Joos fluegelhorn
Anton Jillich fluegelhorn
Rudolf Diebetsberger French horn
Thomas Hauschild French horn
Wolfgang Czelustra trombone
Andreas Richter trombone
Winfried Rapp bass trombone
Franz Stagl tuba
Recorded May/August 1988 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer: Carlos Albrecht
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Despite an overt lack of the very instruments implied by the title of this mysterious effort from bassist Eberhard Weber, it is far from misleading, for the orchestra is in our minds, and in Weber’s heart as he emotes with the fullness of his instrument. The album divides itself between two distinct halves. The first of these hones emphasis on the solo. Weber is the foreground, flexing like the backbone of a creature whose anatomy is otherwise invisible. After the fluttering opening statement of “Seven Movements,” the palette warms into a lush ostinato, which only seems to accompany itself as it coils its golden threads into a brass-gilded frame. Some percussive death throes provide rare drama. “Broken Silence” features a delicate arco bass soaring low above its droning shadow toward the horizons of “Before Dawn.” This, a gorgeous spell working its lilting magic like a funhouse mirror, except that here we find not laughter or distortion, but an expansion of our sonic worldview. Weber jazzes things up for “Just A Moment,” riding a slingshot into “Air,” itself but a pliant reed in a pond, a cattail waiting to cast its children into the wind.

“Two Early To Leave” blends a congregation of brass into tremulous strings, thereby evoking the sweeps of Weber’s earlier work and inaugurating us into the breathtaking second half. We continue with “One Summer’s Evening,” floating sinuous lines along a current of synthesizer. The tender solo of “Daydream” winds its embrace against a sunny drone, while the darker emotional urgency of “Trio” drops itself into a deep sleep, where it dreams of the “Epilogue,” a forlorn path tread by pizzicato footsteps until it is flattened and no longer kicks up dust.

Orchestra is Weber at his purest. A lovely exposition of his talents, technical and melodic alike. Certainly not the one you’ll want to start with, but by no means a shabby place to spend the night before continuing on your journey.

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