Swiss Clarinet player Claudio Puntin is one of today’s most creative minds in Contemporary Jazz. With «Berge versetzen» he pays a musical tribute to his origin, portraying Switzerland from a musician’s point of view. To realize his project Puntin collaborates with the Lucerne Jazz Orchestra (LJO), one of Europe’s top ensembles blessed with a rare versatility. In this program, musical mountains truly are moved in a most impressive way: from the musical core to the performance, from the sound quality to the design of the cover – throughout the whole production you can feel both the precision and the passion for the work. «Berge versetzen», a work full of poetry and surprises.
The cooperation between Claudio Puntin and the LJO, together with Swiss Radio SRF 2 Kultur and the Label Unit Records, resulted in a witty, yet sensitive piece of art. The CD production is embedded in a striking artwork by Martin Stützle, artist from the Swiss Canton of Glarus.
«Berge versetzen» incorporates different elements of Swiss folk music, creating autonomous, vivacious and fresh compositions. Puntin does not compose plain folk music, nor does he reuse the cliché of «Folklore Immaginaire». Instead, he combines own experiences of folk music (his grandfather played double bass in various famous Swiss ensembles) with contemporary groove oriented stylistics. Thus two different approaches to the terms home and origin find their way into one musical cycle. The second major source of influence for the compositions is poems by Lucerne lyricist Sabina Naef. Puntin transfers her intimate verses into sound, deeply rooted in the poem’s mood. Some of the shorter poems resulted in poetic compositions without any vocal parts at all. Where songs evolved, Puntin created them especially for the delicate voice of vocalist Insa Rudolph.
The order between strictly instrumental tunes, inspired by folk music, and the songs is shaped in a symmetrically structured pattern. What unites the cycle as a whole is the Solo Clarinet and Bass Clarinet of Claudio Puntin. To him, the clarinet plays a variety of roles in the different tunes: it can act as a vocalist, a narrator, and an improvisor, expressing joy as well as melancholy – just like a constant companion.
Apart from Clarinet and Vocals, different members of the LJO contribute soloistic moments as well, among others on the Buechel (a Swiss variation of the Alphorn) or the so-called Zischboard (German for “hissing board”), an instrument invented by Puntin, which creates air-percussion sounds.
The CD has been recorded at the Volkshaus Basel by Swiss Radio DRS, released in 2010 at UNIT Records and premiered at the KKL Lucerne (center of culture and convention). On stage, the musicians impressively convey the different moods and facets of the program. The various instruments, including toypiano, megaphones, and air-percussion, contribute to a fascinating palette of colours. Puntin creates an intense atmosphere, guiding the listener through intimate moments and energetic passages, from entertaining intermezzi to strange soundscapes. Thus, the premiere was received with great enthusiasm and gained critical acclaim.
Claudio Puntin – clarinets, zischboard, percussion, toys, composition
Insa Rudolph – vocals, zither, toypiano, toys
Dave Blaser, Linus Hunkeler, Matthias Spillmann, Aurel Nowak, Lukas Frei – trumpet/flugelhorn
Florian Egli, Reto Anneler, Christoph Irniger, Rafael Schilt, Matthias Tschopp – reeds
Lukas Wyss, Lukas Briggen, Silvio Cadotsch, Jan Schreiner – trombones
Hannes Bürgi – piano
Dave Gisler – guitar
Raffaele Bossard – bass
Christoph Steiner – drums
Karin Meier – vocals
David Grottschreiber – conductor