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Susanne Abbuehl|The Gift

The Gift

Susanne Abbuehl

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On her third offering for ECM, her first in six years, vocalist/composer Susanne Abbuehl utilizes the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte, Sara Teasdale, and Wallace Stevens to explore solitude as it embraces desire, and the mysteries of nature. Though she has employed poetry as source material before, it has never been to this extent. Here, she has written the music for all selections but one, Wolfgang Lackerschmid's "Soon (Five Years Ago)," for which she provided lyrics. Backed by her longstanding pianist Wolfert Brederode, flügelhornist Matthieu Michel, and drummer/percussionist Olavi Louhivuori, Abbuehl moves inside the natural and sometimes angular rhymes of her sources, inhabits their rhythms, and delivers them as tender yet authoritative songs. Her restrained, refined approach not only carries their more subtle meanings across, but reveals their considerable power. (Check the brooding, hungry tension in Teasdale's "The Cloud.") Abbuehl uses Dickinson's poems most of all. The writer may be regarded as a mysterious, solitary, even tragic being, but the singer also unmasks just how many worlds -- even observed from the confines of a room -- her poet's imagination reached. On both versions of "This and My Heart," the singer makes the firmament respond to her offering: "It's all I have to bring today...This, and my heart, and all the fields/And all the meadows wide...." Michel's horn emphasizes Abbuehl's delivery as his smoky lines travel, fluttering, skittering, and intoning through a labyrinth; Louhivuori dances around the kit as a conduit for them, and Brederode becomes the respondent universe. Desire is a motivational force in many of these poems; from the earthiness of discovery in Dickinson's "Forbidden Fruit" and its ethereal projection in her "Wild Nights," to its certain spiritual and carnal expression in Teasdale's "By Day, by Night," to the unfettered wildness in Bronte's "Shadows on Shadows." Even in Stevens' "In My Room," solitude is the place where desire not only wants inherently what it wants immediately, but where its language provides it form to observe and project: "From my balcony, I survey the yellow air/Reading where I have written/The spring is like a belle undressing...." (Abbuehl offers a ghostly trace of the Beach Boys' tune of the same name in her refrain, not as humor but as an empathic device.) Throughout The Gift, Abbuehl's music and phrasing are strikingly intuitive and wholly artful; they transcend genre barriers. Her band's articulation of these compositions and the illumination they provide her voice are nearly symbiotic in their support; they create dimension and layered textures that add shades of meaning under her delivery. The Gift offers delight, tension, longing, and an opportunity to hear where written and sung speech are mirror images in the heart of language itself.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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The Gift

Susanne Abbuehl

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1
The Cloud
00:05:10

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Sara Teasdale, Author - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

2
This And My Heart
00:03:38

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

3
If Bees Are Few
00:01:39

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

4
My River Runs To You
00:05:20

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

5
Ashore At Least
00:07:36

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

6
Forbidden Fruit
00:02:03

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

7
By Day, By Night
00:04:03

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Sara Teasdale, Author - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

8
A Slash Of Blue
00:01:33

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

9
Wild Nights
00:06:40

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

10
In My Room
00:04:53

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Wallace Stevens, Author - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

11
Bind Me
00:01:21

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

12
Soon (Five Years Ago)
00:03:14

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Wolfgang Lackerschmid, Composer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Author, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

13
Fall, Leaves, Fall
00:04:04

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Emily Bronte, Author - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

14
Sepal
00:01:31

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

15
Shadows On Shadows
00:04:02

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Emily Bronte, Author - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

16
This And My Heart (Variation)
00:04:26

Gerard De Haro, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emily Dickinson, Author - Matthieu Michel, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Wolfert Brederode, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Olavi Louhivuori, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Susanne Abbuehl, Composer, Voice, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Romain castera, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Baillard, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH

Resenha do Álbum

On her third offering for ECM, her first in six years, vocalist/composer Susanne Abbuehl utilizes the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte, Sara Teasdale, and Wallace Stevens to explore solitude as it embraces desire, and the mysteries of nature. Though she has employed poetry as source material before, it has never been to this extent. Here, she has written the music for all selections but one, Wolfgang Lackerschmid's "Soon (Five Years Ago)," for which she provided lyrics. Backed by her longstanding pianist Wolfert Brederode, flügelhornist Matthieu Michel, and drummer/percussionist Olavi Louhivuori, Abbuehl moves inside the natural and sometimes angular rhymes of her sources, inhabits their rhythms, and delivers them as tender yet authoritative songs. Her restrained, refined approach not only carries their more subtle meanings across, but reveals their considerable power. (Check the brooding, hungry tension in Teasdale's "The Cloud.") Abbuehl uses Dickinson's poems most of all. The writer may be regarded as a mysterious, solitary, even tragic being, but the singer also unmasks just how many worlds -- even observed from the confines of a room -- her poet's imagination reached. On both versions of "This and My Heart," the singer makes the firmament respond to her offering: "It's all I have to bring today...This, and my heart, and all the fields/And all the meadows wide...." Michel's horn emphasizes Abbuehl's delivery as his smoky lines travel, fluttering, skittering, and intoning through a labyrinth; Louhivuori dances around the kit as a conduit for them, and Brederode becomes the respondent universe. Desire is a motivational force in many of these poems; from the earthiness of discovery in Dickinson's "Forbidden Fruit" and its ethereal projection in her "Wild Nights," to its certain spiritual and carnal expression in Teasdale's "By Day, by Night," to the unfettered wildness in Bronte's "Shadows on Shadows." Even in Stevens' "In My Room," solitude is the place where desire not only wants inherently what it wants immediately, but where its language provides it form to observe and project: "From my balcony, I survey the yellow air/Reading where I have written/The spring is like a belle undressing...." (Abbuehl offers a ghostly trace of the Beach Boys' tune of the same name in her refrain, not as humor but as an empathic device.) Throughout The Gift, Abbuehl's music and phrasing are strikingly intuitive and wholly artful; they transcend genre barriers. Her band's articulation of these compositions and the illumination they provide her voice are nearly symbiotic in their support; they create dimension and layered textures that add shades of meaning under her delivery. The Gift offers delight, tension, longing, and an opportunity to hear where written and sung speech are mirror images in the heart of language itself.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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