Duo Rissanen & Kamperman

“Thou Shalt Worship the Rich and Famous” and Ten More Commandments of our Day

Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen and Dutch clarinetist Steven Kamperman embrace Ten Commandments of our Day such as #1 Thou shalt worship the rich and famous, #2 Thou shalt worship thy looks, and #8 Thou shalt make easy money. However, the duo does not confine itself exclusively to these contemporary commandments, as indicated by their version of Se la mia more brami, a beautifully sad song by Gesualdo, the 16th-century composer renowned for murdering his wife and her lover. Rissanen and Kamperman intricately balance between wit, irony, and heartfelt improvisations. Inspired by jazz and many forms of European music, their esthetic language varies from groovy, minimalistic, counterpointed, and tenderly melodic, to at times vehemently expressive.

This leaves us of course the question of what AI – with a whiff of irony – would think of such a project: ‘While these contemporary values might not provide the ethical guidance of the original commandments, they capture the spirit of our time perfectly. “Thou shalt make easy money” epitomizes the nobility of shortcuts and quick wins, clearly superior to outdated notions of hard work. “Thou shalt worship thy looks” champions our profound belief in surface over substance, because who needs inner beauty when filters exist? And “Thou shalt believe alternative facts” celebrates our sophisticated ability to curate reality, leaving the tedious pursuit of objective truth behind. Clearly, these modern commandments better suit our progressive society, where depth is overrated, and convenience is king.

In a series of miniatures and longer interplays, Thou shalt worship the rich and famous colorfully depicts the heights of our modern enlightenment and the values we hold dear in our ever-advancing world.