El Encuentro: A Film for Bandoneon and Cello
By Norbert Wiedmer and Enrique Ros
(ECM 760 2841)
In the ECM film called Sounds and Silence, also co-directed by Wiedmer, we were introduced to the partnership of the bandoneon player from Argentina and the cellist from Germany, and in fact some of that footage is here too.
The film is about the two musicians, their contrasting backgrounds and musical worlds, but also about the universal nature of music and the common languages of melody, harmony, rhythm and emotion that connect all musicians.
Lechner has to make a journey into Argentina and tango, and to learn its particular use of rubato; Saluzzi wants to take the bandoneon out from tango to explore wider worlds, and so is writing for chamber orchestra, with bandoneon solo, which is where we end up: in concert with the Metropole Orchestra of Amsterdam conducted by Jules Buckley.
But before all that, we see Lechner rehearsing a cello piece with Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian, and listening to a magical piece of music on two duduks; we see Saluzzi working with jazz pianist George Gruntz, who had first brought the bandoneon master to East Germany; we see Saluzzi playing with a tango band in rural Argentina while a local man dances Lechner around the floor.
Saluzzi and Lechner make for an odd couple on the surface – physically they are so contrasting, for a start – but this adds to the charm of their relationship, which is not only a musical one but one of learning to understand each other’s cultures.
Saluzzi has some very moving and profound things to say about his music, and music in general, and that, and of course the music, make this an utterly enthralling short film.
Here is a short extract: