Moderne Stravaganze – Modern Extravagances

Antonino Puliafito cello & Rudy Fantin piano and Fender Rhodes MK I

“Bach’s first three Suites for cello are back in a new, enriched form brought to life by Puliafito and Fantin. A perspective that combines interpretation and composition, managing to keep the stylistic integrity of the original work and yet to deepen its research, analyzing the actual score but with pianistic harmonies that sound elegantly extravagant. Baroque and jazz, then, in a cameristic frame where the melodic counterpoint of the cello gets explored through improvisation.
In Modern Extravagances, the six danzas of each Suite are still pure in the use of timbres, which are performed by Puliafito with skill and coherence, and enriched – in a composition that is still quite mysterious – by the secrets of an unprecedented continuo, working as a bridge between Bach’s tradition and an impromptu creativity. By alternating piano and Rhodes, Fantin’s wise and ironic counterpoint definitely brings us back to this tradition, with moments of classy freedom that create superb charm”.
Recorded for the label Jazzylogic, this project was widely performed at Festivals and theatre seasons:
“Modern Extravagances: Bach Project” was conceived out of the interest of two musicians for one of the world’s major composers of all time. Bach had a unique way to express the divine in music. It was certainly because of him that the rules of harmony and counterpoint were born; these were then used by all of the composers who based their music on tonality: from Mozart to Beethoven and Mahler. Bach’s legacy was immense: we have almost two hundred Cantatas, many Concerts for Orchestra and a lot of music for keyboards (organ and cembalo). Another form used by Bach was the Suite, and it is from there that our project unfolds: from the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. Written between 1717 and 1723, they follow a pedagogic order: from the first to the sixth they get more and more complex in the use of counterpoint. We decided to exploit them in an extravagant way, without changing anything in the original partition, though: on the cello, as well as on the piano or the Rhodes, our purpose is to not overshadow the greatness of these compositions. We focalized on the first three Suites. The task, which wasn’t easy, was to make the cello interact with the piano (and even more) in a composition that wasn’t made to be accompanied. But Rudy Fantin’s isn’t mere accompaniment: he gives new support to these pieces, which now thrive with open harmonies, harmonic backgrounds, melodic improvisation and sometimes even interesting unisons; if the first impression might be of surprise, the performance charms the listeners – and the performers – because it creates something different each time, and is therefore unique. Only a music this great could allow it.
J.S.Bach : Suite N.1 in G maggiore 
Suite N.2 in D minor
Suite N.3 in C major
Bach’s first three suites for unaccompanied cello are here reinterpreted through the interplay between Bach’s original composition and the jazz piano improvisation. The outcome is a new interpretation of these Baroque pieces, and it creates different sounds and atmospheres each time; this is surprising for the audience but also for the performers, who need to be extremely receptive to keep the creativity flow.