Trio Biondini/Godard/Niggli

"contemporary mediterrenian alpine chamber music"

Luciano Biondini (I) Accordeon
Michel Godard (F) Tuba, E-bass, Serpent
Lucas Niggli (CH) Drums, Percussion

When Luciano Biondini, Michel Godard und Lucas Niggli play music together the borders between Early and New Music, between imaginary folk and jazz inspired improvisation blur.

One can picture the virtual meeting point at the border triangle between Italy, France and Switzerland. That would be – and the image of the heights is not altogether out of place – on the peak of Mont Dolent, close to the Mont Blanc.

But still this game fences off any territorial and stylistic definition. Alpine as well as

Mediterranean, delicately woven yet permeated with strong melodies driven by frequently complex rhythms that are strong and sensitive at the same time, the three create great arches – across the times, the emotional states of mind, regions and continents. Learning by heart and inventing go hand in hand, they tie together to one

common breathing, they interlink to music of great airiness, turning their gathering into a feast vibrating with delight.

(Bert Noglik, in the linernotes)


Michel Godard and "le miroir du temps"

A serpent's dream

Michel Godard serpent, bass, tuba
Katharina Bäuml Schawn
Bruno Hestroffer Theorbo
Lucas Niggli Drums

Michel Godard has discovered it for our time: the serpent, the existence of which dates back to the middle of the Renaissance. When playing music on the wooden instrument with a mouthpiece made of ivory, Michel Godard uses the gestures of someone speaking and singing and exudes a completely unique, warm sound. He performs with the instrument on a timeline between history and the present. While doing that, he tells stories that can shine in different colors and change direction. The serpent resembles a large snake. The sounds unfold in wondrous twists and turns like dreams in the mirror of time.

Michel Godard brings together renowned musicians in his ensemble "Le miroir du temps", who break out of conventions as he does. Together they manage to raise awareness of the timeliness of old music age and resonate something of the variety of sound of earlier epochs in contemporary music at the same time. Katharina Bäuml is one of the leading Baroque oboists today and also specializes in playing the medieval shawm with her own ensemble "Capella de la Torre", the tone quality of which combines perfectly with Michel Godard's serpent. The theorbo player Bruno Helstroffer is also perfectly familiar with historical performance practice as well as with newer ways of playing, which he has developed in different contexts. Lucas Niggli, one of the most versatile European drummers in jazz and improvised music, knows how to create rhythmically complex and sound-sensitive contexts. Michel Godard, who established his international reputation as a tuba player, concentrates here on the serpent that is long since emerged from its shadowy existence to become his "second instrument". Godard's playing on the bass guitar works like a coherent extra in the music that is (generally) based on bass music, totally in the spirit of flexibility practiced by Renaissance musicians and the freedom that they took from it.

It is the joy of the flow of the melodies seeped in beauty and melancholy, which link the members of the ensemble. They deal with traditions and original compositions as with standards of the jazz: varying, embellishing them freely and improvising. Michel Godard has repeatedly emphasized how important to him this playful dealing with music in the best sense of the idea is, in which the time between composition and improvisation is shortened and flowing transitions result. A melody passed down through centuries can just as much be included as Charlie Haden's sentimentally touching composition "Our Spanish Love Song", for which Michel Godard invited the young jazz trumpet player Airelle Besson to give it extra brilliance.

The recordings for "A Serpent's Dream" were made during the festival in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, where the ensemble performed in the Chapelle des Pénitents noirs built in the mid-17th century. As so often in the concerts and productions of Michel Godard (e.g., his projects in the southeastern Italian Castel del Monte), the magic of the place seems to seep into the music. For "Miserere", Michel Godard used an historic They move past us as if in a dream: the cheerful sinners and the black penitents, the troubled brooders and the exuberant dancers – spearheaded by Michel Godard with a snake whose temptations it would be foolish to resist.

Bert Noglik


CDs on Intakt