Connecting Hamburg and Louisiana with Christopher Trapani
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Hamburg Performance Video!
We are very happy and excited that the video of Chris’s beautiful piece is ready to share with the world! This is one of the Hamburg performances at the Bunkerrauschen with a picture form Berlin’s world premiere. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to bringing this piece and others to the US soon!
Rehearsing for the Premiere
Rehearsal processes for this piece and the tour as a whole was a whirlwind of intensity with only three full days of dedicated time before the first concert. As Frauke is in residence at Schloss Solitude Academy right now, we worked there, enjoying the peaceful castle grounds and the company of other wonderful artists.
It was a lovely challenge to find the right blend of our sounds for each movement/song of Chris’s piece, and in the end we are quite happy with the character we achieved for each and look forward to performing the piece more in future concerts. Recordings of the premiere concerts are forthcoming as soon as we receive them from the engineers.
Selecting Shanty Texts
First step in writing this new piece was to track down the right source texts, which proved more difficult than expected. Hours were spent combing through online compendiums, when in a footnote I finally uncovered a citation from Alte Seemannslieder und Shanties — a collection first published in Hamburg in 1947.
I tracked down a copy of the book (which had never been previously checked out) in Columbia’s Butler Library. Despite its deteriorating binding, the book is a gem, filled with shanty texts from around the world, in several languages and dialects. Adding to its charm are the ink drawings on every page, like the swordfish piercing an accordion on the cover.
Inside, I discovered old shanty texts in Plattdeutsch (the dialect of Hamburg) that will figure in the piece: “Dat Lögenleed,” which roughly translates as “song of lies,” filled with a sailor’s exaggerations about the size of a his ship. And another, “Friesenleed,” a lyrical nostalgic song about the North Sea coast.
Collect/Project, the transatlantic collaboration of German singer Frauke Aulbert and American flutist Shanna Gutierrez seeks to expand the repertoire for their ensemble with a special collaboration and commission. An opportunity has recently arisen to develop a new program with Eva Zöllner (accordion) which examines nine personalities––three musicians and six composers––from across Germany, France and the US in an effort to uncover novel sounds and new spaces for common dialogue while showcasing emerging composers. This program will be performed onand April 17, 2016 at Radialsystem Berlin, April 21, 2016 at the Gesellschaft für Neue Musik Ruhr in Essen; and April 23 and 24 at the Bunkerrauschen with support from the Feldtmann Kulturell in Hamburg.
Important to this program is a new work by American composer Christopher Trapani for voice, flute, and accordion, which will bring together elements (historical and current) from the three countries represented in the program by continuing the exploration and distortion of folk influences in his recent work, as well as the theme of travel and the exotic in many of his compositions. He has proposed a “new work for voice, flute, and accordion, based on the music of port cities. The specific focus will be on Hamburg and Louisiana, with a look at the function of the accordion as a traveler’s substitute for the piano in both locales. The text will likely be a combination of Louisiana French, German, and English, borrowed from traditional folk tunes and sailors’ sea shanties” (C. Trapani).
We have sought out Christopher Trapani specifically for his exceptional craft and compelling scores. Both Frauke Aulbert and Shanna Gutierrez have known and/or worked with Christopher in the past at the Darmstadt Courses, and we immediately thought of him for a new work on this program to bring a unique American voice to German audiences.
By expanding our ensemble to include the celebrated accordionist, Eva Zöllner and commission new works for the combination, we will be growing the repertoire for voice, flute and accordion. Repertoire for this instrumentation is almost nonexistent right now. This is an exciting opportunity for Christopher to be among the first to write for this instrumentation and have the piece played immediately in four concerts (and others still in the planning stages). Additionally, this will highlight an excellent young American composer in concerts overseas. We are extremely excited to play this new piece.
For work samples of Collect/Project, please see the ensemble profile page.
“The music of Anyplace Else oscillates between three poles. The first is line — linear motion, often heard as a duet between two closely linked voices — sometimes nearly superimposed, like the muted piano and guitar at the outset, or sometime at a larger imitative distance, like the bass flute and viola with practice mute about two-thirds of the way through the piece.”
Writing Against Time, inspired by Micahel Clune’s book of the same name, is about “stopping time” – the sensation of suspension in an enveloping present, prolonging the wonder and enchantment of a new aesthetic discovery. The piece unfolds as a long single line, always pulling forward, resisting reference back to earlier moments.
Start and End Dates
04/17/2016 — 04/24/2016