The concert of Irène Schweizer (piano) and Pierre Favre (drums) on the festival stage in Ulrichsberg 2003 was a magical event: «In Ulrichsberg, there was a rare energy,» Favre said after the concert. «The trajectory of the music is compelling. Everything forms a single whole.»
The CD Irène Schweizer-Pierre Favre «Ulrichsberg» (Intakt CD 084) documents the entire live set of the Ulrichsberg concerts from May 2, 2003. Not one sound was too much.
The recording is a document of a strong rhymically formed art of improvisation, a beaming joy of playing and a great musical masterwork after working together for a good 40 years.
«Over the years, a friendship has developed that, beyond the music, connects us in many ways. We've been able to maintain a difficult balance between nearness and distance in our work,» says Irène Schweizer in a comprehensive interview in the CD booklet. And Pierre Favre complements her: «That helps keep our encounters and our concerts fresh, and we're constantly surprised. Without risk, there isn't any living communication.»
Mr. Smith's musical vision gets stronger and stronger with each new work, it seems to me; questing...never resting on his laurels...never settling for an easy option...large themes and broad palettes are part and parcel of his redoubtable acumen these days, but I still think there is a humble accessibility at work...and overarching honesty and truthfulness.
A guiding star, then... John Cratchley