Wednesday 17 August 2022

Florian Klaus Rumpf takes us on 'A Mandolin's Guide to Hamburg'

A Mandolin's Guide to Hamburg: Ishibashi, Abel, Summer, Calace, Acquavella, Hori Kioulaphides, Rumpf, Weidt; Florian Klaus Rumpf; ARS Produktion

A Mandolin's Guide to Hamburg
: Ishibashi, Abel, Summer, Calace, Acquavella, Hori Kioulaphides, Rumpf, Weidt; Florian Klaus Rumpf; ARS Produktion
Reviewed 15 August 2022 (★★★★)

A completely delightful disc where mandolin player Florian Klaus Rumpf takes us on a tour of his home-city through a variety of styles and sound-worlds, demonstrating the versatility and personality of the mandolin

The first thing you might notice on the cover of A Mandolin's Guide to Hamburg is the mandolin player's striking pair of trousers. That image forms a vibrant complement to the lively personality of mandolin player Florian Klaus Rumpf as he takes us on a mandolin-based travelogue around Hamburg on this disc from ARS Produktion. Whilst the disc does include older composers such as Carl Friedrich Abel, Raffaele Calace and Albert John Weidt, the focus of the recital is music by contemporary composers Keizo Ishibashi, Mark Summer, Chris Acquavella, Masataka Hori, Victor Kioulaphides, and Rumpf himself.

Rumpf discovered the mandolin at the age of seven and he went on to study at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln’s Wuppertal location under professors Caterina Lichtenberg, Valerij Kisseljow and Silke Lisko. On this disc he plays a variety of instruments, a contemporary Neapolitan mandolin, a Baroque mandolin, an Octave mandolin and a Liuto Cantabie which is a five-course mandolocello.

Rumpf's tour of Hamburg is a sort of day trip, beginning with watching the city wake up at the Jungfernstieg, then taking in the town hall, the U3 subway line, the church of St Michael, the memorial to the deportation of Jews, Sinti and Roma during the war, the St Pauli Elbe Tunnel, surviving 17th century buildings, the municipal park and finally a night visit to the Reeperbahn. Each of these is described by Rumpf in the booklet and the music chosen very effectively to evoke atmosphere rather than pictures. The result is a rather satisfying recital that transcends its origins and creates something engaging and listenable, and full of charm. It is clear from the recording that Rumpf has a strong personality and this comes over in the sheer variety of the pieces and the vividness of his playing.

So we begin with Keizo Ishibashi's rather lively Sazanami Gazelle, a work which when I listened blind seemed to rather evoke American blue-grass.  And Mark Summer's Julie-O has a similar folk-inspired feel to it. Whilst Ishibashi returns later in the recital with The Rising Sun, all high writing and strong textures.

There are two classical pieces on the disc, Abel's Allegro, in Rumpf's own poised arrangement of a prelude originally written for viola da gamba, and Preludio by the 19th century Raffaele Calace.

The longest work on the disc, and perhaps one of the most complex is Chris Acquavella's Journey to Pazardzhik, itself a travelogue which moves from the thoughtful to the more complex, and an intriguing use of the Baroque mandolin. Masataka Hori's three Remembrance pieces thread their way through the recital, each thoughtful and rather austere with distinctive sound worlds.

Victor Kioulaphides Diferencias was written for the octave mandolin and very much uses the instrument's open, vibrating D string. There seem to be folk-influences here too in this thoughtful, lyrical piece. As well as contributing arrangements of the Abel, Summer and Weidt, Rumpf plays two of his own pieces, Irish Stew which is an intriguing and unexpected mash-up of O Danny Boy, and the more quietly evocative Schlaflied, originally written for his late grandfather. 

But we end with something up-beat, the irrepressible My Lady Jazz by Albert John we leave Rumpf enjoying the night-time crowds on the Reeperbahn.

This is a delightful disc, Rumpf's charm and personality shines through and the travelogue idea means that the recital moves through both styles and moods to create a very satisfying disc, whilst Rumpf's use of three different instruments keeps the sound-world fresh too.

A Mandolin's Guide to Hamburg
Keizo Ishibashi (born 1983) - Sazanami Gazelle
Carl Friedrich Abel (1723–1787), arr: Florian Klaus Rumpf  - Allegro, WKO 198 
Mark Summer (born 1951), arr: Florian Klaus Rumpf - Julie-O 
Raffaele Calace (1863–1934) - XVI Preludio, Op. 152
Chris Acquavella (born 1975) - Journey to Pazardzhik
Masataka Hori (born 1981) - Remembrance, Op. 12
Victor Kioulaphides (born 1961) - Diferencias
Masataka Hori - Remembrance 2, Op. 25
Florian Klaus Rumpf (born 1986) - Irish Stew
Keizo Ishibashi  - The Rising Sun
Masataka Hori - Remembrance 3, Op. 26
Florian Klaus Rumpf - Schlaflied
Albert John Weidt (1866–1945), arr: Florian Klaus Rumpf  - My Lady Jazz 
Florian Klaus Rumpf (mandolin, Baroque mandolin, octave mandolin, liuto cantabile)
Recorded 22-26 May 2021, Ergin Music, Hamburg

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