Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman: Time Gone Out (Intakt)

A review of the duo album from the pianist and violinist

Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman, Time Gone Out
The cover of Time Gone Out by Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman

Time Gone Out reveals how a 25-year musical friendship can inspire some involved musical conversations. Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman first crossed paths in 1994, recording their first album a few years later. Together they reveal a wide set of influences. Feldman plays with the clarity of a classical virtuoso who can stop on a dime and shift naturally into free improvisation. Courvoisier’s technique is also staggering, and as an improvisor she draws on both low end thunder and upper register lyricism, often simultaneously.

Five of the eight tracks on this studio session are credited to both players, so presumably they were spontaneous inventions. But without looking at the credits, a listener would be hard pressed to distinguish them from the other three. (Courvoisier’s “Éclats for Ornette” appeared on D’agala, a 2018 trio album.) Pauses between some tracks are minimal and often last less than dynamic shifts during the music itself.

“Time Gone Out,” credited solely to Courvoisier, features a recurring theme that inspires a series of vignettes, including pensive duets. Throughout the entire set, Feldman’s upper-register wails sound as rich as his mid-range exclamations or his harmonic scrapes. Likewise, Courvoisier’s performance is enthralling, whether she is hammering chords or reaching into her instrument to add percussive effects. She employs such extended technique in the opening track, “Homesick for Another World,” a playful tune that balances out the more album’s more intense moments.

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Mike Shanley

Mike Shanley has been a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh and gladly welcomes any visitors to the city, most likely with a cup of coffee in one hand. Over the years, he has written for several alternative weekly papers and played bass guitar in several indie rock bands. He currently writes for the bi-weekly paper Pittsburgh Current and maintains a blog at shanleyonmusic.blogspot.com.