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Germany has produced two masterful record labels, and no, one of them is not Deutsche Grammophon. They are ECM and Winter & Winter. Each pushes the creative envelope, producing the most compelling music being made today. Winter & Winter in particular has been creating what the label calls AudioFilms (cinema for closed eyes). The newest addition to this genre is cellist and composer Ernst Reijseger's Requiem for a Dying Planet, consisting of the film music composed for Werner Herzog's documentaries the Wild Blue Yonder and The White Diamond.
Herzog's two films truly skirt the outer reaches of thought in a most fascinating way. The Wild Blue Yonder is a documentary told from the perspective of a Roswell alien (played by Brad Dourif of One Flew Over the Nest). The White Diamond is about the engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington, who takes a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, where he hopes to fly his helium-filled invention above the treetops. The results of this wish prove dangerous and deadly, yet Dorrington undertakes it. The cinematography for both films is stunning and required music of the same caliber.
Enter Ernst Reijseger, who recruited Senegalese singer Mola Sylla and the Sardinian group Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei to mash up East and West influences in a most ambitious and very successful assimilation of genera. The collision of traditional mass settings with the humid Mediterranean voices of the island of Sardinia is beautiful in Reijseger's arrangement. Reijseger's setting for Handel's "Dank sei dir Gott is stunning, fitting perfectly the W&W subtext of the AudioFilm. The composer's cello adds an additional voice to the mix: well-composed, performed, and integrated into the musical surroundings of the film music.
Requiem for a Dying Planet is hypnotic in its beauty and stunning in its scope. Ernst Reijseger meets Herzog as an equal on the creative field, and together they produce a super-composition. This moody music is perfect as a film soundtrack. It stimulates consideration and transcends the art of music into another realm.
Track Listing: Intro Dank sei Dir Gott; Dank sei Dir Gott; Longing for a frozen sky; A una Rosa; Libera me, Domine; In search of a hospitable place; Sanctus; Bad news from outer space; Su Bolu 'e s'Astore; Mura/Ballu Turturinu; Song of the desert; [Ernst Reijseger/Mola Sylla] Kyrie.
Personnel: Ernst Reijseger: cello, voice; Mola Sylla: voice; Voches de Sardinna: voice; Patrizio Mura: voice; Gianluca Frau: voice; Mario Siotto: voice; Piero Pala: voice; Massimo Roych: voice.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.