Assi Karttunen: Beyond the River God

review assi karttunen x1 cong

Sometimes you’ll read about modern bands whose music closely resembles that of Bach. We think Oasis underwent such analysis once, and they stole it all from The Beatles, for whom similar comparisons can thus be made.
In this case, the opposite applies, for the first part of this enjoyable CD of harpsichord music is the work of François Couperin (1668–1733), a French Baroque composer whose melody sounds like a classical version of a modern pop tune. People who understand notes and all that stuff might explain why, but all we can say is that Couperin’s melodies sound very modern and not at all like music that’s 300 years old. Obviously, Karttunen is an accomplished player and perhaps that helps — she specialises in performing and researching Baroque music so she knows her stuff.
The older pieces are joined by work from modern composer Graham Lynch, who draws inspiration (at least for Admiring Yoro Waterfall and Present-Past-Future-Present) from the haiku and travel sketches of 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bash.
On his blog, Lynch wrote: “The music is very much to do with perception: the sound of the waterfall gradually emerging into the piece before fading away at the end. The new compositions … explore the question of how we perceive the things around us.”
Present-Past-Future-Present is perhaps a good hook to hang the CD on: despite being played on a harpsichord and featuring music that’s centuries old, it’s got a very modern sound. It’s very more-ish and highly recommended. Out now on Divine Art.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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