Franz Koglmann

Venus in Transit

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AllMusic Review by

It is not easy to create with the humor, melodic ingenuity, and harmonic complexity of Franz Koglmann and produce something this light and accessible. The trumpeter's soft lines belie an ability to dig deep, and whether he brings an operatic presence to his music (for example on the majestic "So rühr' ich um mit meinem Sabel," or an avant garde interpretation to "Voralberger Schuhgroβ händler (Some Like it Hot)," the results are always unique. The recording is divided into three parts The first and longest, comprising the first twelve tracks, and a sort of homage to Marilyn Monroe, was composed for a theatrical performance entitled "Venus in Transit." The three tracks of the middle section ("Wahlverwandtschaften") are loosely based on architecture. The short, final, track is simply called "Epilogue." This is music of great depth infused with European influences, but also incorporating some of the cream of the American improvisational community, performers such as violinist Mat Maneri and tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Speed, each of whom plays a prominent role. Koglmann's stamp is clear throughout, his alternately dense and open arrangements always tied together with a sophisticated vision, his constructs full of surprises. Impossible to categorize, but never succumbing to pastiche or cuteness, Venus in Transit is another fine contribution by a composer whose work as a whole is a function of consummate skill and imagination.

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