Michael Wolters: Danserye

Michael Wolters: Danserye

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Birmingham Record Company
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Michael Wolters: Danserye

Michael Wolters creates ‘utterly beguiling’ (Tempo) and ‘oddly moving’ (Guardian) works that either deconstruct and question traditional concert situations or are designed for performance outside the concert hall altogether.

Danserye features music from his collaboration with German choreographer Sebastian Matthias. Their hugely successful production was based on Thielmann Susato?s collection of dances of the same name from 1550, and has been performed over 40 times in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Wolters says: “Composing this music was about examining Susato’s collection of dances, applying processes to them and distilling – like in a chemistry lab – certain qualities about them.”

The unusual instrumental line-up was the result of a long thought-process, with the original plan being to write for two recorders and harpsichord. But instead this odd, outwardly mismatched ensemble, proved ideal for a composer who revels in the playful deconstruction of musical contexts. It features one genuinely old instrument (recorder), two newer versions of old instruments (guitar and violin/viola) and one instrument that historically doesn’t fit at all (clarinet).

Sometimes the score is close to Susato’s original music (for example in Mille Regretz), sometimes far away (Quartet doesn?t use any of the original material). The folk roots of the original pieces, written for ordinary people to dance to, are reflected in both the score and in the choice of musicians, all of whom are experienced in playing folk music.

 

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1 Basse Dansen
2 Hillary's Basse Dansen
3 Shepherd's Basse Danse
4 Herkulestanz
5 De Post
6 Hoboeckentanz
7 Ronde Loop
8 Matrix
9 Allemande
10 Mille Regretz
11 Quartet
12 Galliarde No 7
13 Galliarde No 11
 

 

Artists: Simon Goff violin | Michelle Holloway recorder | Jack McNeill clarinet | Paul Norman guitar
 
Cat # BRC002
 
Release date: 28 June 2019
 
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
 
Michael Wolters
Michael Wolters has maintained an outsider position in the world of contemporary music with works which deconstruct and question the traditional concert situation or which are designed for performance outside the concert hall. He has written music for traditional ensembles like Birmingham Contemporary Music Group but prefers to challenge conventional set-ups and concert rituals. This has resulted in pieces with unusual instrumentations (like his twelve-minute-long opera The Voyage, produced with theatre company Stan's Cafe for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad written for mezzo-soprano, eleven recorders and double bass), performances in unusual places (wahnsinnig wichtig on ice took place on and around an ice rink) or projects of unusual duration (his Spring Symphony: The Joy of Life is the shortest symphony in the world and lasts around 17 seconds while the performance of Wir sehen uns morgen wieder lasted for a month).