Stockholm's O/Modernt ensemble, founded and directed by the iconoclastic violinist Hugo Ticciati, is a protean thing that gives concerts and carries out educational projects. The group also mounts an annual festival devoted to an older form (O/Modernt means "un-modern") as it might manifest itself in the present day. These festival concerts in turn become recordings. This one, as the title suggests, is devoted to the chaconne, one of the early Baroque forms featuring structures built from many variations on a short "ground bass" passage. You do hear the most famous Chaconne of them all, the one from the Bach Partita No. 2 for solo violin in D minor, BWV 1004, played by Ticciati himself, along with a couple of other Baroque chaconnes, played more traditional ways, or less traditional ones. There are vocal chaconne-like pieces with mezzo-soprano Luciana Mancini, and improvisations on chaconne patterns. Then things go further beyond the norm at the end with the three pieces labeled remixes, all three after works by Purcell. These are not really remixes in the sense in which the word is used in contemporary popular dance music, but rather performances, characteristic of O/Modernt, that mix in entirely new genres; prominently, political hip-hop from rapper Baba Israel (sample the Dido's Lament Remix), taking off on Shakespeare's sonnets as well as on Baroque music. You can be a bit mystified by the logic of it all and still enjoy the sense of fun and the sheer unexpectedness of what's coming next. Recommended to anyone of an experimental cast of mind.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|The Merchant of Venice|
|Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004|