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Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia : Frère Jacques—Round About Offenbach

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If you can’t quite figure out whether clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi and accordionist Gianni Coscia’s latest is a jazz or classical release, the subtitle offers a genre-hopping clue: It’s both. Though ostensibly dedicated to 19th-century French composer Jacques Offenbach, Frère Jacques-Round About Offenbach is, as the reference to the Monk standard suggests, less a straight rendering of Offenbach’s music than a jazz-tinged approximation. Even those new to the man Rossini allegedly dubbed “the Mozart of the Champs-Élysées” are likely to recognize a melody or two.

Offenbach is perhaps best known for Les contes d’Hoffmann, a dialogue-free opera that features the can-can episode “the galop infernal.” As novelist Umberto Eco points out in his liner notes, Trovesi and Coscia give the famous dance tune an original twist, at one point slowing the melody to an elegiac drone (“Galop … troterellando”). This is the dominant mode of Frère Jacques.

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