Las Hermanas Caronni Santa Plástica
Les Grands Fleuves
Review by Tyran Grillo
As sisters, Laura (cello) and Gianna (clarinet) Caronni share an indivisible connection. As musicians, affinity runs as deep, embedded in histories and personages beyond their blood relation. For this album, which comes three years after 2015’s Navega Mundos, they expand their musical reach in a program of immense scope and variation. Drawing on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Ives, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Marin Marais, Béla Bartók, Astor Piazzolla, and Nino Rota, along with some vernacular influences for good measure, the whimsically titled Santa Plástica is a personal mosaic that expands the notion of family by welcoming the listener into its own.
"Coplita Para Mi Mama" (excerpt)
Las Hermanas Caronni harmonize through both instruments and voices, particularly in Laura’s rendition of the Argentinian folk-inspired “Coplita Para Mi Mama.” Such beauty of arrangement and execution is the duo’s hallmark and echoes further in “Breathe” and “Buena De Mais,” both of which feature guest vocalist Piers Faccini and, in the latter instance, Kathryn Clark-Boireau’s moving articulation of an Ezra Pound poem. The title track is another vocal highlight for its harmonizing impressions of Ravel in a lively setting.
Familiar motifs are delightfully reimagined. Where “One Way” treats the opening arpeggio of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 as a bass line for trumpeter Erik Truffaz in moody brilliance, “Tôle” crafts an entirely new wardrobe around Piazzolla’s “Libertango.” Even the childlike wonder of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto finds itself enhanced in “L’Estey.” Other highlights include the circular “El Cielo” and the gorgeously arranged Basque dance, “Partir.”
In all of these, the combination of cello and clarinet brings something deeply self-aware and tactile to fruition, but nowhere so colorfully as in “Coucou,” an homage to Federico Fellini. And indeed, like any great work of cinematic art, Santa Plástica gathers influences from the real world to create its fantastic own, embracing musicians as writers, directors, and actors in the spirit of a living art. - Tyran Grillo