Gianluigi Trovesi clarinets
Gianni Coscia accordion
Recorded February 1999 in Zürich
Engineer: Markus Heiland
Produced by Manfred Eicher
The virtuosic duo of multi-reedist Gianluigi Trovesi (performing here on clarinets) and accordionist Gianni Coscia makes its first ECM appearance with In cerca di cibo. Over the course of an affectionate hour, these two points of light join to create a binary star that shines in full spectrum. The album’s title means “In search of food,” thus indicating seeds sown and re-sown until they bear new fruit to nourish the ears. It also points to the music’s folk origins, glazed and fired to perfection.
The title piece in duplicate bookends the 15-track program with selections from Fiorenzo Carpi’ score to the 1971 TV mini-series Le avventure di Pinocchio. With the artistry of a wind-blowing cloud on an old map, it christens this sonic vessel and guides its sails as true as Trovesi’s psychoanalytic leaps. “Gepetto” is perhaps the most insightful in this regard. A far cry from Disney’s bumbling songster, it takes us instead into the soul of a man tortured by the fact that his only hope for a child’s love is to carve that love from the forest’s very flesh and bone. These sentiments are echoed in the heartrending “Fata Turchina” (Fairy) and “Lucignolo” (Candlewick). The duo further references the 1994 film Il Postino in its title theme by Luis Bacalov, here but a heart murmur, a flash of romance crocheted into warmth.
Even without a track list in hand, the cinematic contours of nearly every piece are apparent. Whether navigating Trovesi’s descriptive “Villanella” or the nimble fingerwork of “Minor Dance,” to say nothing of his wailing inscriptions in Coscia’s “Le giostra di Piazza Savona,” there is plenty of storyboarding at play. The co-composition “Celebre Mazurka alterata” further epitomizes the duo’s wide range of moods, abilities, and technical flourishes—a masterpiece that lends Ángel Villoldo’s classic tango “El Choclo” all the verve it needs to leave its meteoric trail across the sky. Also noteworthy is “Django (Donadona)” by pianist-composer John Lewis: not only for its superb music, but also for the narrative arc it takes on in the present rendition. From mourning to frivolity, Trovesi and Coscia are omniscient purveyors of their domain, such that when they close the album’s bright, tempestuous circle with the very shadows from which it was born, we know that the melodies will continue to dance into the distances of their hearts.
What we’re left with is a scene cinched by the drawstring of politics, war, and indecision, shaken free of its inhibitions and re-clothed in passion. It takes us as we are, provided we leave our preconceptions at the door. As Umberto Eco says in his liner notes, “there’s no need to wonder about in which temple we should place the music of Coscia and Trovesi. On a street corner, or in a concert hall, they would feel at home just the same.” It may just be that they feel best at home with you.