Two crooks with a fondness for old Hollywood B-movies convince a languages student to help them commit a robbery.
A triangle: Franz, Arthur, and Odile. Franz, a young man with Alain Delon good looks, has met Odile in an English class. She lives in Joinville with wealthy benefactors and has mentioned to Franz that Mr. Stolz keeps a pile of 10,000 franc notes unlocked in his room. Franz tells his friend Arthur, a swarthy guy whose shady uncle is pressing him for money. Arthur and Franz, who mimic American movie tough guys, case Odile's house, pressure her to assist them with a burglary, and make passes at her as well. She's alternately compliant and distressed. Will they pull off the heist?
Masqualero was the Arild Andersen Quintet by another name, a name that both tipped its hat to Wayne Shorter while casting its gaze toward a future that was decidedly Andersen’s. Note the formidable cast of up-and-comers: Nils Petter Molvær on trumpet, Tore Brunborg on saxophones, and Jon Balke on keys. Add to that Jon Christensen on drums, and one can hardly go wrong. Andersen himself flexes his compositional muscles on three cuts, filling each with his depth of tone. Yet his presence is, as ever, non-invasive, and allows a porous democracy to seep through.
La Petite Bande recorded its set during the late 1970s and these are performances which do considerable justice to the music. Brisker tempos, lighter bass string playing and an altogether more imaginative approach to continuo realization bring these concertos alive to an extent hardly realised by I Musici. Sigiswald Kuijken, the leader and director of La Petite Bande, includes a theorbo in his continuo group and this is invariably an effective addition. Both sets field a secure and lively concertino group of two violins, cello and continuo but listeners may well find that the warmer sound and greater degree of finesse provided by the concertino of I Musici is more to their liking than the thinner, wirier textures of the other. Having said that, I should add that in matters of baroque style, as in its more highly developed spirit of fantasy, La Petite Bande offers far and away the more satisfying performances.