AMN Reviews: Per Gärdin, Pedro Lopes & Rodrigo Pinheiro – History of the Lisbon Chaplaincy [Creative Sources cs432]

Bearing the name of a short book on the Anglican Church in Lisbon, Per Gärdin, Pedro Lopes & Rodrigo Pinheiro’s History of the Lisbon Chaplaincy was, appropriately enough, recorded in St. George’s Church in Lisbon in September, 2013. St. George’s figures centrally in the book, but undoubtedly it was chosen as a recording site not for its history, but for its Fincham pipe organ, played by Pinheiro. Throughout much of the long improvisation that makes up the recording, the organ acts as a kind of sonic anchor, whether as a relatively immobile foundation for Gärdin’s restless soprano and alto saxophone lines, or as a kind of eddying current running underneath the reeds and Lopes’s percussion and turntables. The music’s dramatic development largely hinges on the tension between Gärdin’s energetic expressionism and Lopes and Pinheiro’s more texturally-directed sounds; crucially, the trio plays effectively with the church’s acoustics, carefully crafting sound densities from variable-length phrases and subtly-balanced ensemble passages.

Daniel Barbiero