This duet performance by clarinetist Louis Sclavis and cellist Ernst Reijseger is one of a series of rare meetings the two have played over nearly two decades. Sclavis is hailed the world over for his mastery of all of the clarinet family's instruments, and plays a number of them here, as well as soprano saxophone. Reijseger, best known as a member of the Trio Clusone, is a wizard as a cellist. This date in 1993 lasted an hour, and for that 60 minutes in Berlin (in what was apparently sweltering heat) they produced a set of improvised music that is so thoroughly mystifying in the quality of its empathy and telepathy, one would swear it was rehearsed. No cue goes unanswered over 11 "tunes" that last anywhere from four to eight minutes. Each idea introduced is built upon, then added to and then transposed onto another. No ground is taken for granted, nor is any given. As Reijseger plucks, strums, bows, scrapes, and beats his cello to entwine with Sclavis, the latter takes melodic invention apart from inside, making improvisation part and parcel an extension of folk song. And yes, these interactions do sing -- so much so they make one laugh and cry. There is no differentiating between tracks; this is a performance, a concert in the truest sense of the word, and an example of the true qualities of improvised music: That two men can come together and extend each other's capabilities as musicians. Awesome.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek