Inventionis Mater

Posted: February 1, 2014 in fz related album review, transcriptions, zappa
Inventionis Mater, Does Humor Belong in Classical Music?, 2013

Inventionis Mater, Does Humor Belong in Classical Music?, 2013

In these dull audio ages of extremely compressed sounds, take a deep breath and go for Inventionis Mater to enjoy a sound made of acoustic instruments, air and silence. It is a duo: Pierpaolo Romani on clarinet and bass clarinet, and Andrea Pennati on classical guitar. Andrea and Pierpaolo are at ease with low and high dynamics when playing, and masterful in creating arrangements for two single voices, using silence as part of their transcriptions.

If “peaceful” is the first adjective that comes into mind listening to Does Humor Belong in Classical Music?, maybe “tight”, “tense” or “bursting” are adjectives commonly associated with the music of Frank Zappa. In spite of this, these transcriptions work fine because the drama and the irony of the originals are still there.

The album starts properly with Lumpy Gravy (Duodenum actually). Peaceful and tight at the same time, it goes into a lyrical Oh No, with an ironic finale, a nice variation.

Just to digress a moment, Inventionis Mater is a great and appropriate name for this project, but “Denum Duo” would have served as a nice moniker too!

The album continues with Brown Shoes Don’t Make it, maybe the greatest challenge of the set, the duo transcription is of course dryer than the original but the lyricism inherent to the piece is very well rendered.

Let’s Make the Water Turn Black has a great start, then continues nicely, but maybe too much low profile, a good rendition, but the arrangement lacks that little something more that all the other transcriptions have.

Then the second challenging transcriptions: Peaches en Regalia. The original arrangement is so full of different colors that it is hard to imagine, but also to describe, a duo rendition, but try it for yourself and you will get a bizarre feeling, but in the right direction. As if you get the substance of it, the dna is there! Particularly effective are some changes of the leading role between the two voices, a brilliant expedient to create a varied duo arrangement.

Mom and Dad and Absolutely Free and are the nearest to Zappa as far as mood, the duo effectively captures the dramatic intension of the originals. The second being probably the most interesting outcome of this project. Particularly brilliant here are some changes in the stereo position of the instruments, corresponding to significant mood shifts in the piece.

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Silence, the third instrument of this duo, is called for his best performance in Mother People!

Sofa #2 is the perfect closer for this brief set, a total of 32 minutes. The divan cosmogony inherent drama is perfectly rendered. “Thanks for coming to the show, Hope you liked it, Goodnight!” is what materialize in the zap-o-phile mind at the end of the album. Or, what if the listener would have been be free of about 30 years of sofas, lumpy gravies and brown shoes? Any one in touch with Oliver Sacks?

The album, released in 2013, is available for streaming through the Inventionis Mater soundcloud site, where two outtakes are also ready to be listened: Son of Suzy Creamcheese and Catholic Girls. As far as what can be heard from a compressed source, the audio production seems at a lower standard if compared to the others, and the files have been added later. Also, a lot of live footage is available through YouTube, including King Kong, Rhymin’ Man and Zomby Woof. First steps towards a next album? Meanwhile, go for the tragic story of the large gorilla, miniaturized!

As a member of the audience, for the following project I would respectfully suggest to take into consideration The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, in the Helsinki ’73 arrangement (Road Tapes #2). More, since the audience imagination often goes beyond the fringe of anyone comprehension, I would also think about all the opening suite of Road Tapes #2 (from EDMBBQ, to RDNZL)!
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Enjoy Does Humor Belong in Classical Music? via spotify too, then purchase it contacting the Duo through the Inventionis Mater web site, or via cd baby.
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Does Humor Belong in Classical Music? back cover

Does Humor Belong in Classical Music? back cover

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Inventionis Mater flyer for a Lisbon concert, December 21, 2013

Inventionis Mater flyer for a Lisbon concert, December 21, 2013

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