Thomas Enhco & Vassilena Serafimova – Avalanche (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 12:07 minutes | 203 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Masterworks
A little over seven years ago, my piano teacher Gisèle Magnan called me up and said: “Hello, Thomas, I’ve discovered an utterly amazing classical percussionist, a young Bulgarian woman who plays the marimba divinely. I want you to do a concert together; it will be fantastic!”
Me: “Er . . . Classical percussionist? Bulgarian? Marimba? What do you want us to do together? I’m a jazz pianist!” Her: “Oh, I have no idea, you’ll figure it out! Anyway, the concert has already been scheduled for May 16th, 8 pm. You have six months. I’m sure it will be great! Ciao, bye!” Dial tone.
I did not suspect that that phone call would transform my musical life. After an initial hesitant exchange over the phone, I met Vassilena in a café in the Latin Quarter on a rainy winter night. I ordered an herbal tea; she ordered a beer. The ideas began to flow: first, Bach. A fugue I used to play on the violin and that Vassilena plays on the marimba, over which I would improvise on the piano; then, Piazzolla, Chopin, and why not one or two of my own pieces?
As of our first rehearsal, I was enthralled by Vassi’s sound on the marimba: full and warm, like a wind instrument at times and at others, truly percussive and intense. Very quickly, I realized the extent of her virtuosity: with her four mallets, Vassi could play absolutely anything, even the most convoluted lines found in some of my compositions! And, like me, she loves all music styles, taking risks, and intense sensations.
From that moment, we agreed on one rule: nothing was offlimits, nothing was taboo. We tried anything that popped into our heads. It was a perpetual storm, where instinct was our only compass, and when we fancied an idea, we took it as far as possible. Together, we created our pieces, arrangements and “disarrangements.” We already had too much material for one concert, so we scheduled more and each time we would mix it all up again and try something new. A year later, I put forward a bizarre idea: to play Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, on the piano and the marimba. Obviously, Vassi rose magnificently to the challenge and made a crazy suggestion of her own: to create a piece based on a traditional Bulgarian song, which we would sing ourselves.
Once you get to this point, anything is possible, and I really feel as though I have met a musical soul mate, with whom I can share the discipline of classical music, the madness of jazz, the love of performing and the thrill of risktaking… A virtual tightrope walker!
Since then, we have given many concerts in Paris, Beirut, New York…; we postponed recording several times because we didn’t feel ready, and finally we stepped into the studio in September 2015, six and a half years after our first meeting. My dear Vassi, I hope that this will be the first of a long series and that we will still be playing together when we’re all old and wrinkly!
01. Thomas Enhco & Vassilena Serafimova – Avalanche
02. Thomas Enhco & Vassilena Serafimova – Miroirs
03. Thomas Enhco & Vassilena Serafimova – Fire Dance