ECM 1721

    with words by Ernst Meister

    The Chamber Music and Songs Ensemble
Mona Larsen  (voice)
Michael Mantler  (trumpet)
Bjarne Roupé  (guitar)
Marianne Sørensen  (violin)
 Mette Winther  (viola)
Gunnar Lychou  (viola)
elle Sørensen  (cello)
Kim Kristensen  (piano, synthesizers)

    Recorded October 11, 1993,
    at the Danish Radio, Copenhagen


Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt
  conducted by Pete
r Rundel

recorded November 13/14, 1998,
 at Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt

Opening / So far / For ever / Interlude / Nothing more / Darker than the light / How long are our nights / Mark, nothing appears / Everything seems / The breath exchanged / Speechless

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

scores available here
listen to selected excerpts

English language versions of Ernst Meister poems that were first set to music in 1987 and appeared on the Many Have No Speech album (where they are sung, in German, by Jack Bruce). This time the pieces are performed by the Chamber Music and Songs Ensemble, the group Mantler formed in 1993 after resettling in Copenhagen. The ensemble was previously featured, alongside the Danish Radio Orchestra, on Cerco Un Paese Innocente, and formed the instrumental core of the sort-of-an-opera School of Understanding.


As a composer who has come originally from jazz, I have almost always worked with musicians who had been given a varying amount of freedom of interpreting and even improvising some segments of my music. As I continue to feel the need for more control, I have gradually been reducing that freedom, wanting more and more to eliminate the amount of chance in the performance of a piece of music. With this work I arrive at a completely notated composition without any improvisation whatsoever. One Symphony was composed between March '97 and August '98. The basic concept for it was that of "symphony" in its most elementary form - simply the utilization of a relatively large number and variety of instruments to perform musical materials organized to create a larger whole with a logical continuity. No particularly unusual compositional methods were used, and there is no programmatic content or message. It should exist as a piece of pure music, leaving the listeners to arrive at their own emotional interpretations. The neutral title was chosen for that reason as well as to suggest it being one of many possible symphonies.

- Michael Mantler