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Von Orelli, Marco: The Unasked Answer (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

A remarkable album of solo trumpet improvisation of incredible and creative technique, performed on trumpet, cornet, piccolo trumpet and slide trumpet, from Swiss trumpeter Marco von Orelli, the album title referencing a work by Charles Ives for offstage string ensemble, woodwind quartet and, most significantly for this album, solo trumpet.

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product information:

UPC: 752156102724

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1027
Squidco Product Code: 29558

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at E39 Studio, in Basel, Switzerland, between April 16th and May 10th, 2020, by Hannes Kumke.


Marco von Orelli-trumpet, cornet, piccolo, slide trumpet

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Artist Biographies:

"Marco von Orelli was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland. He completed his musical studies at the University of Music and Theatre Winterthur Zürich (HMT) and the University of Music Basel, where he majored in trumpet and improvisation. Additional study programmes: Jazz, New Music (Neue Musik) and free improvised music. Furthermore he took study trips to Den Haag (NL) in 1997 and two years later to Vienna (A). Since 1997 Marco von Orelli occupies himself with composition. He has given Solo concerts (e.g. for the 20-year anniversary of the cultural magazine "Programmzeitung", for the "Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative" in Bern or for Basel's celebrations for being a part of Switzerland for 500 years in 2001).

Marco von Orelli has enjoyed success on stage with the street scene musical by Kurt Weill under the direction of André Bellmont, Werner Düggelin and Heinz Spoerli, as well as with acts such as the George Gruntz Workshop Big Band or with various orchestras like the basel sinfonietta, the Swiss Improvisers Orchestra, TOMMY MEIER - ROOT DOWN, musique brute or Marco von Orelli 5. He is playing in different styles and has been seen giving concerts at such established events as the Jazzfestival Willisau (CH), Jazz à Mulhouse - météo (F) or music unlimited 22 in Wels (A). In 2002 Marco von Orelli toured with the swiss Circus Monti (Music composed by Ben Jeger) and from January 2003 right to the end of 2004 he acted as live musician for the Theatre Puravida in Basel. Marco von Orelli is also known for his collaborations with artists like Flavia Ghisalberti (Butoh-Dancer), Sheldon Suter, Daniel Ott, Jan Schlegel, Christoph Baumann, Co Streiff, Frances Marie Uitti, Johan van Kreij, Béatrice Götz (miR Company), Peter Schärli, Tommy Meier, Omri Ziegele, Michel Wintsch, Christian Weber, Irène Schweizer, Paul Hubweber, Luìs Lopes, Marc Unternährer, Isa Wiss, Luca Sisera, Travassos, Carles Peris, Alex Huber, Frantz Loriot and many more!"

-Marco von Orelli Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Hatching 3:50

2. Totem 3:17

3. Arktis 4:49

4. Origin 2:16

5. On - Interpretation #1 2:42

6. Derwish 9:07

7. Orient Fiction 4:02

8. New Ferry 6:07

9. Off - Interruption #2 1:32

10. Lost In Eight 3:31

11. Flowers For My Heroes 4:33
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"In 1908, Charles Ives wrote a work called "The Unanswered Question". It was for the unusual instrumentation of offstage string ensemble, woodwind quartet and, most significant for our purposes here, solo trumpet. Though it was inspired, we think, by Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem "The Sphinx", Ives provided his own explanatory text. The trumpet asks "The Perennial Question of Existence" seven times, to which the woodwinds provide only six increasingly disordered answers, while the strings, heard at a certain distance, convey the silence of eternity.

More than a century later, we have Marco von Orelli and The Unasked Answer. This is a clever title, not just in prompting the reference to Ives and his famously "dissonant", nontonal music, but also because an improvisation, and particularly a solo one, can often seem like the answer to a question no one has explicitly articulated. Indeed, I once reviewed a concert by a rather famous improviser by describing it as "a series of answers to questions I didn't know I was asking", which was meant as a compliment, even though some took it to convey sarcastic disapproval. In that same review, I used the word "quiddity", which I like because it's old-fashioned and not much in general use in English. It comes from the Latin quis meaning who or what, and it's related to words like "quirk" and "quibble", all of them suggesting personality, idiosyncrasy, the quintessence (another "q"!) of a thing or person, sometimes meaningless argument - all things that in some way point us toward the nature of improvised music.

Solo performance is the most demanding branch of that already demanding discipline. A piano player has a whole orchestra in front of him. A trumpet player only has the sound of his own skin and breath. Von Orelli's unasked answers are presented with impressive plainness, even when they begin mysteriously, like "Hatching" and "Arktis". Sometimes they are as plain as the plainest song, like "Totem". And sometimes they wear their emotional heart on the sleeve, like the closing "Flowers For My Heroes". Von Orelli has long taken an interest in unfamiliar and sometimes non-idiomatic approaches to the trumpet. Charles Ives learned a lot about music and about sound by listening to his father deliberately making noises on his basset horn. The more open-minded of von Orelli's teachers encouraged him to explore the trumpet's other identities and natures, and the results are before you here.

These eleven tracks are quiddities. They sometimes quibble with a sound. They are sometimes deliberately quirky, making the trumpet do things that the trumpet is not normally expected to do. But above all, they give us the who and the what, the nature of a man and of his instrument. Ives later published The Unanswered Question along with Central Park In The Dark as "Two Contemplations" and that's another good wordfor the music you have here. A standard view of improvised music is that it is dry, abstract, impersonal, serious, humourless. Who have they been listening to? I hear a deep warmth in von Orelli's music, a man speaking to and from the heart. In Emerson's verses the poet who answers the Sphinx mentions love more than once. His first thought, as he attempts to address the creature's questions is "Deep love lieth under / These pictures of time" and that was my first thought when listening to Marco von Orelli's The Unasked Answer. Time, yes, is always the most fundamental component of music, but love sometimes doesn't get a look in. The poet doesn't give up. He knows that there is pain in existence and in art, even under pleasure. But he insists, coming back to his main point, that "Love works at the centre". As it does here."-Brian Morton, June 2020

Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Hat Hut Masters Sale

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