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Demos (For Choir, Chamber Quintet and Electronic Music)

A 032CD A 032CD

"Marcus Schmickler's recent release on A-Musik is yet another proof of his stylistic diversity. His music defies all attempts at categorization. Schmickler appears to be well versed in all musical genres, having reached a level of perfection which seems almost unique in these times. Sui generis, as they say. Only a short while after his impressive duo improvisation with John Tilbury (Variety) and with a new Pluramon album due for release, Schmickler will once again convince critics and audiences. At the same time, this release reveals yet another aspect of his manifold musical activities -- composing for instrumental ensembles and choirs. Demos is Schmickler's most ambitious work to date. Premiered in March 2004 in Cologne, the piece went on a triumphal trip through half of Europe. Among other places, it has been performed at Cracow and the renowned Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow, where it was performed in the course of a three day festival organized especially for Schmickler. Demos -- which can be heard on this release in an arrangement for choir, chamber ensemble and electronic sounds -- deals with Nietzsche's thoughts expressed in his Zarathustra on the extent with which language could be dealt with (or addressed) as music. The piece does so on the basis of fragments from the text. The basis for (t)his philosophy Nietzsche perceived in the expression of the choirs in ancient Greek tragedy. Marcus Schmickler transcends the classic mythic emblems of ancient Greek choirs such as recitative and declamation by employing contemporary means. In the overwhelming power of the choir, Demos -- the Greek term for 'community' and commonly used for 'people' -- lets one sense the energy, which serves as a metaphor for a people and their ability to strongly voice their desires, their requests and their demands. Moreover, Schmickler's abstract and strepitous electronic sounds blend in an illustrative way with the text and the imagination of events portrayed in the dramatic performances of the choir. Thus they become projections of the clamour of an abstract mass. Demos is demanding, disturbing and suggestive in its idiosyncratic blend of sounds. This is a music which passes on the spirit of such luminaries as the late György Ligeti ('Requiem'), Jani Christou or Iannis Xenakis ('Medea'), but which in Schmickler's contemporary attitude gains a wholly different significance. Complementing the album are two excerpts of Schmickler's musical arrangements for theatre productions. All in all, this is an album which resurrects traditions as well as pursues the hitherto unheard in a unique way. In addition to that, it examines in how far constructivist and post-dramatic approaches can today inspire classic forms with new structures though the amalgamation of text, music and performative elements without betraying the qualities of the originals."