We have been working with a beautiful project this spring and summer: Birds, by Liv Runesdatter, is inspired by the birdlife on five locations in Rogaland in a period of four weeks. The music is developed together with and performed by Song Circus, Britt Pernille Frøholm (hardanger fiddle) and Odd Børge Sagland (percussion).
“Birds” is performed as a concerts piece, we are developing a programme with musical bird fairytales together with storyteller Marianne Stenerud, a short film in collaboration with Hinterland and visual artwork together with Nina Elisabeth Børke / Werksemd, and Sondre Oldereide Michaelsen is making a short docu for us.
“Landscape With Figures sounds positively bustling with activity compared with this largely static set of haunting, abstract murmurs and howls. The voice of Persephone is a many-layered beast, like that of a thousand owls and sad lonely wolves.”
“Throughout both pieces, Song Circus perform flawlessly. In fact their performances are almost inhuman in their clinical perfection, and if we add the super-human clarity of these recordings and the very alien, abstract nature of the music, I sometimes wonder what there is left for us to enjoy. Somehow there is a certain pleasure to be found in the coldness of this work, and the remorseless way the music is executed, which may not be anything like what Liv Runesdatter and her crew intend. I think the faceless woman on the front cover is very telling, a visual index of the near-anonymous music inside.”
I Solisti del Vento, Red Note Ensemble, Song Circus
Actor: Jan Decleir and Simon Callow
Conductor: Etienne Siebens
Angela Merkel is a Wagner enthusiast, Barack Obama listens to Bob Dylan and Vladimir Putin enjoys Russian folk music. Still sounds are seldomly a point of concern for politicians. But if choirs can topple a government and symphonies can discourage an army, then music is more than purely pleasure. In ancient China the first emperor of a new dynasty determined which pitch was in harmony with the cosmos. And in his ‘Republic’ Plato regarded only Phrygian and Doric scales to be politically correct: all others threatened the ideal civilisation.
Dutch composer Louis Andriessen took Plato’s text as the initial concept for a cantata which forms a fist against rigid forms of government with energetic rhythms and recalcitrant chords. Andriessen’s ‘De Staat’ (The Republic) is both a accusation against the soulless and suffocating totalitarianism which Plato defends and a reflection on his musical convictions. Andriessen seems to say with his explosive minimalism: everything a composer puts to paper is filled with political, social or religious meaning.
Thereof Mauricio Kagel was also convinced. Everything this Argentinian German composed is a politically tinged mockery of musical history. In ‘Der Tribune’ (The Tribune) – an audio play for political orator, marching sounds and speakerphone – Kagel twists Andriessen’s rhythmical tightness to a virtuously absurdist monologue, soaked with comical rage and disdainful indignation. Demagogy, misleading the people and egotripping are merged with marching band music with oom-pah-pah coppers and tickling woods.
We place both these analyses of the political system – one razor sharp, the other viciously joyful – right next to each other. A new text by writer Dimitri Verhulst to Kagel’s music hurrays the dawn of a new political age with malicious merriment: ‘The future beckons, the sky is clearing and even the roses are turning blue. Tomorrow, tomorrow is mine and yours.’
A production of I Solisti del Vento in collaboration with Red Note Ensemble, Song Circus and Sound Festival with concerts Scotland, Belgium and The Netherlands
With the kind support of: Aberdeen City Council’s Made in Aberdeen programme, Creative Scotland National Lottery Funding, Music Norway and Arts Council Norway
“the three ensembles closed with a blisteringly visceral account of the budgeoning dissonances of Louis Andriessen’s notorious De Staat. It proved a fittingly powerful, provocative and confident, internationally focused conclusion to sound’s thrillingly ambitious weekend.”
“An extraordinary work. What impressed me immediately is the immensely detailed and microtonal spectrum. A world full of nuances and small gestures that make up one giant musical construction in twelve movements. One can dwell endlessly in this strange world. Complex, and above all utterly beautiful.”