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Contrabajisimo / Ensemble  2005

 â€žWenn eine Kontrabassistin wie Christine Hoock sich daran macht, Piazzollas Tangos zu interpretieren, dann stellt man spätestens fest, dass dieses riesige Streichinstrument mehr als ein subordiniertes Begleitinstrument ist. Und zudem sind diese Tangos so grandios geschrieben wie interpretiert, dass es Laune macht, sie immer und immer wieder zu hören. Das liegt auch an der versierten Klavierbegleitung von Barbara Nussbaum. Dass daneben auch noch größer besetzte Werke zu hören sind ( u.a. auch das Konzert fĂĽr Bass, Bläser und Percussion) stört ĂĽberhaupt nicht, da die Lebendigkeit, die Agilität und vor allem die Ausdruckstiefe der Bassistin auch hier erhalten bleibt. So will man Bass immer wieder hören!!!”

  BASSWORLD Dec. 2005

These two discs represents the most recent of German double bassist Christine Hoock’s contributions to the discography of our instrument. Released in 2004 and 2005, repectively, these recordings demonstrate her ability to engage her audience in a wide variety of repertoire and her passionate approach to music making.

 On Bassa Nova Hoock demonstrates her control of the presents works ranging from the familiar to those that bear further attention. Opening with Bottesini's Allegro diConcerto 'Alla Mendelssohn', she immediately demonstrates her ability to project a clear tone and the lyricism she uses to craft each phrase.  Hoock moves fluidly from genre to genre, with command of tone, articulations, and nuance at every turn.  Proto's Sonata 1963 and Jean Francaix's Mozart New-Look are the most familiar selectionsThese, along with Emil Tabokov's Motivy.  Bottesini's Tutto ilmondo serro with mezzo soprano Claudia NĂĽsse is artfully done.  Duo Piasso gave the European premiere of the Suite in three Movements by Leo Eylar, and this may be the first time the piece has appeared on a commercial recording.  The Adagio from Dimitri Shostakovich's The ClearStream gently rounds out the disc.With the unaccompanied Tabokov we get to hear the full range and nuance of Hoock's playing. Their choice of repertoire is creative and the playing by both Hoock and Nussbaum is top-notch.

 Contrabajisimoconsists primarily of works by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. Hoock embarked on this project after performing Kicho, one of the few original pieces Piazzolla wrote for the bass.  Ihe arrangements are her own in collaboration with pianist Barbara Nussbaum, and include violin on three of the works.  Emst-Ludwig Leitner's Concerto for doublebass, winds, percussion and harp, which is heavily influenced by Piazzolla, is also on the disc.The range of emotions that Hoock captures between the exquisite tenderness and the suspended tension that is ever-present in the tango is mesmerizing.  The haunting familiarity of Legratango, Oblivion, Milonga enRe, and Tanti anni prinia, carries over into Kicho and Contrabajisimo, and Hoock demonstrates her control of shading and clarity of her tone on each piece. Barbara Nussbaum expertly complements the melodic line of the double bass; this music is truly a duo each line, whether harmony or melody, needs to balance with the others, and the ensemble is terrific.  Winfiied Rademacher's violin playing blends in, emerging from the bass line, and weaving through the texture to give it subtle color and inflection.The Concerto by Leitner is lightly scored with flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, trombone and tuba, in addition to the harp and percussion.  Modeled after the instrumentation of Mozart's GranPartita, the bass is given the role of the first violin.  Not only does the instrumentation echo Piazolla's own preferences, but Leitner also hints at Adios Nonino without ever quoting it directly.  This is a charming yet striking piece, well balanced in ensemble, and gives Hoock yet another venue in which to shine.

I had the additional pleasure of hearing Hoock perform several of the Piazzolla pieces live at die 2005 ISB convention, accompanied by Nussbaum and violinist Renata Artman-Knific. The audience, captivated by their affection for the music of Piazzolla, was completely drawn in by the sheer energy of the performers as they played their hearts into this music. The feeling of the disc is more of a controlled energy, but the heard is all there - captured for the continued enjoyment of the listener.

 Review by Andi Beckendorf


Bassa Nova / DoubleBassist 2005

“Christine Hoock draws a rich, velvety sound and shapes her enterprising programme with imagination and musicality in this, her first CD. Her playing is compelling throughout, demonstrating all the requisite technical assurance, particularly in the cadenza of Bottesini´s Allegro di Concerto “Alla Mendelssohn” . DUO PIASSO contributes tasteful supporting roles in Bottesini´s adaptation of Chopin´s Etude Op. 25/7 as an aria, Tutto il mondo serra, but Claudia Nüsse´s powerful voice lacks clarity of distinction.

Hoock and Nussbaum forge an excellent partnership in Fank Proto´s Sonata 1963, a challenging blend of classical and Jazz idioms. They sustain the lyrical opening movement with skill and subtlety, and Hoock demonstrates her mastery of pizzicato in the jazz second movement. They are appropriately reflective in the “Blues”, before unleashing their virtuosity in vital, rhythmic finale.

Both players cultivate a pleasing cantabile in Asarkhyn´s arrangement of an Adagio from Shostakovich´s ballet The Clear Stream and give a convincing account of Leo Eylar´s  Suite in Three Movements, achieving sense and coherence from its quasi-improvisatory musical language. They also capture the wit of Francaix´s Mozart New-Look, comprising an amusing blend of snippets from Mozart´s Don Giovanni an Bizet´s Carmen, and positively revel in the folksy, improvisatory character of Emil Tabakov´s Motivy, turning its fascination with timbre and texture into an absorbing musical drama and demonstrating their virtuosity with exuberance and Ă©lan.”