Francesco Socal – clarinet, sax, voice
Roberto Durante – piano, accordion
Pietro Pontini – violin, viola
Enrico Milani – cello

NB all members play small, unidentified, clattery objects

Minimal Klezmer is a quartet formed in London in 2011 by four musicians who shared a classical training, an attitude to improvisation, a certain affinity with Dadaist aesthetics, and a fatal passion for klezmer music. The repertoire results both from a research on classic sources and from their destructuration and reprocessing: traditional klezmer, recorded at the beginnings of the last century by soloists and orchestras (J. Solinsky, N. Brandwein, A. Schwartz, J. Hoffman, etc.), but also works coming from other est-european traditions (Romania, Hungary, Greece, etc.) are rethought through compositional and performing practices set out by twentieth-century art music (jazz, free-improvisation, chamber music). The performance is strongly influenced by street music, which is both the band’s origin and its field of constant formation. The use of mainly “portable” acoustic instruments, accompanied by props of various kinds, gives birth to a small-scale musical and theatrical scenic space of improvisation, where moments of meditative listening alternate with intrusions in the world of dance and cabaret. The group boasts record productions (Minimal Klezmer, 2012; Oy wOioi, 2014) and numerous shows in theaters, jazz clubs, festivals and various celebrations all over Italy, France, Germany, Hungary and the United Kingdom. A new album, “Ӧt mínusz kettő”, has been published in may 2023 by the historical Venetian jazz label Caligola. In this third work the journey into klezmer and Eastern European music continues with a considerable addition of musical compositions.

klezmer and klezmorim

Minimal Klezmer is conceived as a praise to the klezmorim orchestras who traveled across the length and breadth of eastern Europe since the beginning of the 20th century. Made up by lower-class musicians, often frowned-upon for their vagabond condition and their irreverent and libertarian spirit, klezmorim mainly played in shtetl during traditional festivities, but not infrequently also in Catholic or Orthodox environments: their repertoire ended up combining the musical tradition of holy synagogue chants and eastern Europe’s folklore. The result was a new and heterogeneous musical form, klezmer, sometimes deeply meditative and sometimes cheerful, where the sound of the solo instrument follows and renders the ambivalence and complexity of the passions that inhabit the human soul.