Pasa Tem­pos

Mu­sic by Jo­hann Pachel­bel and Mu­sic of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles, 1959

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Scor­datura, dabkeMusikalis­che Ergötzung The Shel­ter­ing Sky

Of course you know Jo­hann Pachel­bel, thanks at least to the ubiq­ui­tous “Canon in D.” He prob­a­bly did write it, although its ear­li­est sur­viv­ing source dates from a good cen­tury af­ter his death, where it is cou­pled with a gigue. Gli incog­niti, a ter­rific pe­ri­odi nstru­ment st r i ngs- plus- con­tinuo en­sem­ble led by vi­o­lin­ist-vi­o­list Aman­dine Beyer, gives the Canon and Gigue a vig­or­ous read­ing on this al­lPachel­bel re­lease, as an af­ter­thought to the abun­dance of lovely mu­sic that in­hab­its the pre­ced­ing 46 tracks. Most of the disc is de­voted to seven of his “Par­tien,” in­stru­men­tal suites of four to eight move­ments that con­spire to charm the ear, amuse the mind, and touch the heart with warmth. Six of them were pub­lished in 1695 un­der the ti­tle (Mu­si­cal De­light), a de­scrip­tion that is right on tar­get. As with much 17th- cen­tury Ger­man mu­sic, this calls for a good deal of

whereby string in­stru­ments tune their strings in ortho­dox ways to achieve spe­cial ef­fects; here it gives more ex­pres­sive breadth to the suc­ces­sion of short dance- de­rived move­ments. Five sec­u­lar arias show an­other side of Pachel­bel’s art. Com­posed for wed­dings, hol­i­days, or other cel­e­bra­tions, their ex­trav­a­gantly beau­ti­ful melodies al­ter­nate with punc­tu­at­ing phrases from the in­stru­men­tal group. Tenor Hans Jörg Mam­mel, much ap­pre­ci­ated in early-mu­sic cir­cles, shows some pre­ma­ture wear but nonethe­less con­veys these rarely heard pieces with deep af­fec­tion. — James M. Keller

Paul Bowles is more pop­u­larly known as the ex­pa­tri­ate au­thor of (1949), whose dis­patches from Morocco at­tracted vis­it­ing heavy­weight writ­ers like Tru­man Capote, Gore Vi­dal, and Wil­liam Bur­roughs to his Tang­iers so­cial scene. But Bowles was also a pi­o­neer­ing eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gist of North Africa. In 1959, the Library of Congress con­tracted him to record per­for­mances of tra­di­tional tribal and eth­nic mu­sic of Morocco. Over sev­eral months, he trav­eled all over the coun­try to col­lect an as­tound­ing ar­ray of live mu­sic. Mid­cen­tury Morocco was a de­li­ciously fer­tile mu­si­cal play­ground of African, Ara­bic, and Mediterranean in­flu­ences. Cou­pled with Bowles’ keen aes­thetic sense, the re­sult is over four hours of record­ings with few duds and a wealth of epic per­for­mances. “Ah­meilou,” the stun­ning opener by Maallem Ahmed, pairs like Ara­bic lan­guage ul­u­la­tions with a pound­ing ar­ray of clat­ter­ing African drum polyrhythms. “Gnauoi Solo Song,” recorded in Mar­rakesh, evokes the West African coun­try blues stylings of Malian mu­sic. A Bowles mu­sic project would be in­com­plete with­out his own frank eval­u­a­tion of the record­ings, so the discs come pack­aged in a silkscreened cigar box that in­cludes a 120- page leather-bound book with Bowles’ field notes, as well as an in­tro­duc­tory es­say penned by Sonic Youth front­man Lee Ranaldo. — Casey Sanchez

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