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Ernst Reijseger: Requiem For A Dying Planet

Glenn Astarita By

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Recognized for his efforts with jazz drummer Gerry Hemingway, as well as numerous other roles as a session man and leader, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger is also known for his avant/classical/world music proclivities. Requiem For A Dying Planet was brought about when German filmmaker Werner Herzog approached Winter & Winter record label chief Stefan Winter to find "some very personal music for two documentaries, The Wild Blue Yonder and The White Diamonds.

Enter Reijseger with Sengalese vocalist Mola Sylla and the Voches de Sardinna (a Sardinian vocal choir). When the film score was consummated, Reijseger and Winter remixed the final product to yield this sovereign release, which mingles traditional European songs with the cellist's compositions and arrangements—all molded into a pious statement.

The title of this project foreshadows the name of the first chapter in The Wild Blue Yonder, "Intro Dank Sei Dir Gott." This outing serves as a standalone program where the Sardinian vocal choir bestows a solemn storyline atop Reijseger's arching lines. If you're in need of a spiritual or life-lifting boost, you might want to rethink or perhaps defer spinning this disc. A haunting beauty shines forth from the music, but the music occasionally casts a dark shadow via the cellist's stark pizzicato choruses and the vocalists' ritualized chanting.

A world beat vibe enlightens some movements, including Sylla's use of the metal-tongued African mbira, which derives its richly organic sound from tempered steel tines that vibrate when plucked. In addition, the vocal choir's mantra-like verse bespeaks a self-reckoning of sorts, especially when the music elicits imagery of the near-term end of civilization. At times, these processes convey a mystifying element, often supplanting a world beat-drenched operatic climate with droning undercurrents. Regardless of taste, preference or attitude, this is a curiously interesting progression of musical frameworks, setting forth notions of divine contemplation prior to a doomsday-like event.

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

Personnel: Ernst Reijseger: cello, voice; Mola Sylla: vocals, mbira, xalam; Voches de Sardinna: Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei: Patrizio Mura, Gianluca Frau, Mario Siotto, Piero Pala, Massimo Roych.

Title: Requiem For A Dying Planet | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Winter & Winter

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