dinsdag 4 juli 2017
Kairos, June 2017 by .No on Concertzender
Oh, dear. Dark solemn voices fill my room. I'm in church singing territory. Luckily in the sort that is simply extremely impressive. The kind that quietens me, the kind that makes me surrender to whatever the higher power is that is sung for. The singing is so strong, so forceful that I am willing to believe in a higher power, even if it is for these few minutes. These singers from Estonia know where paradise is lost and found. This is simply so beautiful. Recorded superbly, every tone and note and quiver is accounted for and reproduced on my speakers. The very air bends to this power to make the best of sounds possible. I bow my head and listen in total silence.
When music emerges from the soundscapes, this solemn song slips beautifully into 'Omer Gielliet's' slipstream. Especially the droning violin links the two songs. House of Cosy Cushions captures me with its song 'In The Morning Sun'. Several instruments are added in a delicate way. It reminds me of Moon Moon Moon but also of Maggie Brown, who's new album 'Another Place' was released a few days back. Some of that band's songs would fit in wonderfully here.
We return to an all male choir. The undercurrent is a drone of bass voices -have I found this month's theme already, drones? The voices weave in and out, until a high voice joins the whole. Not so all male, after all? From Estonia to the Ukraine. Musically not such a big step, but the difference in how this music hits me is not the same. The Estonians were so much more impressive, pervasive, all enveloping. This Ukrainian choir is not. Should I ever enter a church and they are practicing, I would certainly take a seat and close my eyes for a few minutes and undergo the glory of human voices intermingling and singing together.
Gabriel Fauré is up next with an excerpt from Pelléas et Mélisande. Undoubtedly some mythological figures. Not going to a gymnasium is killing where the classics is concerned. There's too much I'm not familiar with, but then, if that is all. A lady is singing reasonably high, with violins beneath here. Every once in a while the voice shoots up in height and volume. Although I can hear how well she sings, my opera allergies start to rear their ugly heads. I'm still here and sort of like the violin accompaniment.
And then one of these little .No miracles happen. An instrument enters the violins and seem totally in their place and still something tells me it can't be right. And it isn't. Béall Tuinne starts singing in what seems like Greek but certainly isn't. 'Ar Muir San Oiche'? Gaelic? Bask? Breton? I haven't a clue. Something I haven't heard before I think. As it is live from a church in Dingle, my odds are with Gaelic.
Violins return, but nothing like Fauré's. These are rough violins, from behind the plough shears of some farmer's village. On a sombre, dark, winter's day, not knowing what's lying ahead. House of Cosy Cushions returns, but with a totally different sort of composition. This is not a song, but sounds, drones, not unlike Broeder Dieleman before. The title could have been one of his, 'Kerkje Te Oostum'. It is wilder, more rough, not pretty at all. At the same time in both songs you can imagine the callous hands, worked hard for a lifetime. Heads in the cold wind, shawls around necks trying but failing to keep the cold out. Pre-industrialisation music, while at the same time not a single person could have imagined music like this at the time. Music was there to pray with or to rejoice at, not to resemble the hardships of every day. And that is what 'Kerkje Te Oostum' signifies for me. The every day life of ordinary hard working people with no hope for a better life except salvation, one day, long after death. That illusion dangled in front of ordinary people to keep them in their place. "If you work them hard, I'll keep them dumb".
A rejoicing trumpet shouts out to the heavens. A choir sings underneath and around it. A weird combination that I'd never heard before, It works though. It gets met out of my dark reverie of the previous song. This odd combinations is a composition by James MacMillan. The variation to "The Last Post' and the heavenly choir mix and mingle their totally different sounds. I can't understand how someone came up with this. It is so different, yet works. God works in mysterious ways. Well, point proven, Mr. MacMillan. Twelve minutes is a bit long though. The point was made after five minutes I'd say.
Charles Henri Maulini, 'Nuits' is next. I can't remember hearing this composer before. So what to expect? To my surprise the song start with a modern, electric piano. Maulini is of today. With a hint of symphonic rock, an interlude of Yes or The Moody Blues and a hint at blues. It is over before I can really make something of it, but I liked what I was hearing.
We return to the jazz of Polish origin with the Ignacy Wiśniewski Trio. By now we must have heard the whole album, 'Jazz Shirim'. The familiar standing bass sound leads in the opening of 'Port'. (Is the sound in the background .No's making? It must be, it has nothing to do with Polish jazz.) Spare piano notes join the bass, the snare drum, with the snare off, is slapped with a brush very close to the rim or even on the side. The piano meanders slowly into a theme, an extremely simple one of just a few notes. It is the dark side of the piano that joins, as does a violin. As I hadn't heard a violin before in this trio, there is a fourth player involved. A mash-up or is this the record? And come of it, what must I make of MacMillan's composition, now I'm hearing this??? Questions, questions and no answers. I can't trust my ears and judgement any more. A bowed bass, o.k., but then the simple trio returns, so tell me, dear reader, what did you hear? The sound in the background comes forward and disappears again, creating a 'Riders On The Storm' effect. Again I notice that the music of the Ignacy Wiśniewski Trio may be alien to me, I sort of like the Nighthawks at the Diner effect of the music.
And with that the June Kairos comes to end as does my adventure into this music.
You can listen to the June Kairos here:
This is this month's setlist:
00:10 Galina Grigorjeva Svjatki. In paradisum.
Eesti NSV Riiklik Akadeemiline Meeskoor (The State Academic Male Choir of the Estonian SSR); dirigent: Mikk Üleoja.
Album: ‘In Paradisum’. Uitgave in eigen beheer.
03:14 Broeder Dieleman. Omer Gielliet.
Album: ‘Uut de Bron’. Snowstar Records.
13:13 Moon Moon Moon. Docking place.
Album ‘Help! Help!’ Tiny Room Records TR015.
13:37 Richard Bolhuis / House of Cosy Cushions. In the morning sun.
Album ‘Haunt me Sweetly’. Outcast cats records CAT 0C01.
16:42 Alexander Schetynsky. Ameristos, Adiayretos (undividedly, without division) uit ‘Know Yourself’.
Cantus Chamber Choir, Uzhhorod.
Album’Sacred Music from Ukraine’. Naxos 8.579005.
20:50 Gabriel Fauré. Lento (The King’s Three Blind Daughters) uit Pelléas et Mélisande.
Album ‘Fauré Requim Pavane Pelléas et Mélisande. Philips 420 707-2.
24:01 Béal Tuinne. Ar Muir San Oiche.
Album ‘Live at St James’Church, Dingle. TARA CD 4022.
26:38 Richard Bolhuis/House of Cosy Cushions. Kerkje te Oostum.
Album ‘Spell’. Outcast Cats CAT 0C002CD.
34:37 James MacMillan. In Splendoribus Sanctorum uit ‘Strathclyde Motets’.
The Sixteen olv. Harry Christophers.
Album ‘Miserere’. CORO COR 16096.
45:30 Charles Henri Maulini. Nuits.
Album ‘Peaks’. Volkoren 72.
48:03 Ignacy Jan Wiśniewski. Port (fragment).
Ignacy Wiśniewski trio.
Album ‘Jazz Shirim’. Wood and mood.