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Art Wolf

Artist: Kate Westbrook

Date of Release: 01/01/2005

Catalogue no: AS186

Label: Altrisuouni

Price: £10

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

My Pale Parasol

2

 

Art Wolf Sketches

3

 

Exile

4

listen

Oil paint on Canvas

5

 

Art Wolf Scavenges

6

 

In meinem Puppenhaus

7

 

Mein bleicher Sonnenschirm

8

 

Unsigned Panorama

9

 

Oil and Pencil on Cardboard

10

 

Ein Glucksspiel

11

 

Sketching Party

12

listen

Whose Wolf Art Thou?

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Chris Biscoe, Mike Westbrook

With ART WOLF the Westbrooks unleash a radical new quartet, and a new album on the Swiss label altrisuoni.

The latest in a series of collaborations between composer Mike Westbrook and librettist Kate Westbrook, ART WOLF is inspired by the life and work of the Swiss Alpine painter Caspar Wolf (1735 - 1783) whose very signature was the image of the wolf. Through improvisation, text and formal composition, this powerful new work revolves around the role of the Artist, the "Art Wolf", and the nature of creativity.


ART WOLF was commissioned for the re-opening in October 2003, of the Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau Switzerland, which houses a unique collection of Caspar Wolf's work.

With titles such as 'Oil Paint on Canvas', Kate's lyrics deal directly with the relationship of the artist to his craft. In 'Art Wolf' itself the artist is portrayed as a scavenger after Beauty and Truth. The music ranges from the formality of 'Sturdy Linen Canvas' to the total improvisation of 'In meinem Puppenhaus'; from the lyricism of 'Sketching Party' to the blues-charged expressionism of 'Whose Wolf Art Thou?'.

Kate Westbrook (voice / tenor horn), Mike Westbrook (piano / euphonium), Pete Whyman (saxophone), Chris Biscoe (saxophone)

texts Kate Westbrook
music Mike Westbrook

Album recorded with financial assistance from Airshaft Trust and Aargauer Kunsthaus.

 

Reviews

 

27/03/2006 Alyn Shipton - The Times

Review of ART WOLF Concert at St Cyprian's London 22/03/2006

It's a fair certainty that Oil and Pencil on Cardboard ranks as one of the more unusual titles for a new jazz composition. It is also a pretty unusual piece, with the saxophones of Pete Whyman and Chris Biscoe scurrying across their range, snarling, screaming and swirling, with moments of lyrical calm thrown in. In celebration of his 70th birthday in the stone and gold splendour of St Cyprian's, the piece proved that Mike Westbrook is still one of Britain 's most creative, experimental and daring jazz composers.

His suite Art Wolf is a setting of lyrics by his wife Kate that celebrates the work of the Swiss painter Caspar Wolf, an 18th-century landscape artist whose depictions of the rugged alpine landscape were dramatically rendered into chippy, rocky musical structures.

The composer's spartan piano conjured up the vastness of the chill mountain scenery in the opening to Pale Parasol, a reminder of Wolf's practice of including everyday objects in his pictures to create a sense of scale. Meanwhile Kate Westbrook's declamatory style, slipping from song to speech and from crisp English to German, teased out the metaphor of an artist whose very signature was a wolf, scratching a living from the inhospitable landscape.

Too much of this would be hard going, but Westbrook has learnt a trick or two in his long career, and the musical diet was leavened with some simply breathtaking soprano saxophone solos by Pete Whyman.

Sinuous and sinister, his sparkling sound made the most of the glorious acoustic of the church and between some dazzling torrents of notes added a romantic lyricism. Most Westbrook concerts also have an inbuilt sense of fun, and although we had to wait for the second half for his congeniality and good humour to emerge properly, his four-piece brass band swaggered its way through Oil Paint on Canvas. This had all the lilt and lift of his best big-band writing, the composer's bass horn setting up an ostinato against which the saxophones and Kate's baritone horn swaggered and swung. This joyous feeling returned in the encore, a Martinique song whose Caribbean warmth sent us happily out into the alpine cold of a London evening.

 

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