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Albums by François Couturier, Anja Lechner, Jean-Louis Matinier, Jean-Marc Larché

François Couturier, Anja Lechner, Jean-Louis Matinier, Jean-Marc Larché

The group heard here is comprised of three French musicians – Couturier, Larché, Matinier – who have worked together frequently in shared projects, plus German cellist Anja Lechner. A member of the Rosamunde Quartet whose ECM recordings include performances of compositions by Mansurian, Silvestrov, Shostakovich, Webern, Haydn and more (including, most recently Thomas Larcher) Lechner is also versed in improvisation in different traditions, working with musicians from Dino Saluzzi to Misha Alperin. In 2004, with Vassilis Tsabropoulos, she recorded music of Gurdjieff (“Chants, Hymns and Dances”), a project with historic-philosophical links to the present disc: Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev” was Gurdjieff-inspired.

François Couturier was born in Fleury-les-Aubrais, near Orléans, in 1950, and began playing piano at the age of six. After completing studies in classical music and musicology in the early 1970s, he began improvising in earnest, initially taking his cue from modernists Paul Bley, Chick Corea and Joachim Kühn. By the end of the 1970s he was working regularly with drummer Jacques Thollot, one of the key protagonists of the French ‘free’ movement. Inside Thollot’s group he befriended bassist Jean-Paul Celea. Couturier and Celea played in duo, then developed their concept to include other musicians. Amongst them: Daniel Humair, François Jeanneau, Dominique Pifarély. In 1980 Couturier won France’s coveted Prix Django Reinhardt which increased his international profile. Shortly thereafter he joined John McLaughlin’s group, touring and recording with the English guitarist.

Couturier’s late 80s group Passagio, again including Jean Paul Celea, recorded two discs for Label Bleu. Couturier’s first appearance on ECM was on Anouar Brahem’s “Khomsa” in 1994, a recording that also marked the ECM debut of Jean-Marc Larché. Contact between Brahem and the pianist had been initiated in 1985 when they worked together at the Festival of Carthage. The association was revived in 2001, and Couturier has toured widely with the oudist’s trio that also includes accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. Meanwhile he continues to work in the most diverse contexts, including recently a project with countertenor Dominique Visse playing music “from Machaut to Berio”.

The Song for Tarkovsky quartet made its international debut at the Bergamo Festival in April 2006.

Autumn appearances include the ECM Festival in Dinant, Belgium, on September 30, and a special release concert in Paris at the Salle de la Chapelle des Récollets of the Maison de l’Architecture, on October 5.

“Nostalghia – Song for Tarkovsky” is released worldwide at the end of August 2006. In fact, December 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of Andrei Tarkovsky’s death. The CD booklet includes stills from his work, made exclusively available to ECM by the Institut Tarkovski, Paris.

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