Composer musician Joe Chindamo has taken seven classic Giacomo Puccini arias and reimagined them with this evocative recording.
With just a hint of the original melodies Puccini created for the his operatic masterpieces Chindamo has created a fresh interpretation lead with his subtle piano performance. To enhance the recordings Joe enlisted violin player Nigel MacLean, guitarist Doug de Vries, bassist Ben Robertson and Rajiv Jayaweera on drums. To help achieve a desired minimalist effect, Joe multi tracked the violin, a note at a time in order to create a series of chord clusters which were then interspersed and dovetailed throughout. This eerie stillness is reminiscent of the work of late 20th century composers such as Philip Glass and Takamitsu. All of the arrangements are by Joe Chindamo.
The recordings were made with engineer Chris Corr at Melbourne’s Woodstock Studio. As Joe likes to quip “I love opera..except for the singing, of course.” Jokes aside, Joe’s main intention in making this recording was to release these exquisite arias from the constraints of Puccini's harmonic and rhythmic structures and to explore and rework them into his own abstract sound scape. This is Puccini stripped back to his rawest elements - lust, longing and love.
I found this album deeply melancholic and elegiac but at the same time totally life-affirming in a soft and ruminative mood throughout. Melbourne pianist Joe Chindamo reimagines eight arias from the Italian Puccini, said to be the most commercially successful composer in opera history. Chindamo says his purpose is “to reinvent the musician such a way so as to reveal an intimate quality inherent in the original work”. I hear this album as a work of superior jazz ballads and found it an utterly moving experience. Some of Puccini’s immortal melodies, which are dripping with beauty, seep through, but the most telling quality here is Chindamo’s ability to refashion the originals according to his own impeccable vision as an improvisor.
Accompanists include the brilliant guitarist Doug de Vries, bassist Ben Robertson, drummer Rajiv Jayaweera and violinist Nigel MacLean.
Review - The Weekend Australian
January 25th 2020
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