Monday, April 2, 2007

Michael Mantler with Don Preston - Alien,LP,1985,Austria

Mantler was born in Vienna. He went to the United States in 1962 to study music, and after early activities in the New York avant garde, including work with Cecil Taylor and the Jazz Composer's Guild, he formed the Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association (JCOA), a non-profit organisation to commission, perform, and record new compositions for jazz orchestra.
The problems of independently distributing the orchestra's record label led him to form the New Music Distribution Service (as a division of JCOA) in 1972, an organisation which was to serve many independent labels for almost twenty years. Eventually Carla Bley and he established their own company, WATT — a record label, recording studio, and publisher. He toured and recorded extensively with the Carla Bley Band as well as occasionally with his own live performance projects.
Mantler recorded many solo albums with varying instrumentation and personnel, emphasizing his work as a composer rather than as a band leader. Appearing infrequently live, he mostly concentrated on composing and recording. Among others, he recorded an album with the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra plus soloists (Something There), and several albums of songs using the words of writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett (No Answer), Harold Pinter (Silence), and Edward Gorey (The Hapless Child).
Various commissions from and performances with European orchestras followed, including work at Swedish Radio, North and West German Radio, the Lille Opera, and Danish Radio. His 1987 recording, Many Have No Speech, an album of songs in English, German, and French, was based on the poetry of Samuel Beckett, Ernst Meister, and Philippe Soupault. It was written for chamber orchestra, trumpet and guitar soloists, and the voices of Jack Bruce, Marianne Faithfull, and Robert Wyatt.
In 1991 he left the United States and moved to Europe, dividing his time between Copenhagen, Denmark and the South of France.
A new orchestral piece was commissioned by the Austrian Donau Festival, and was premiered near Vienna in June 1991 by the Nö.Tonkünstlerorchester, conducted by Michael Gibbs, with Andy Sheppard as soloist. New compositions were also commissioned by the Danish Radio Big Band and the North German Radio Big Band in Hamburg.
During 1992 Mantler recorded a new album, entitled Folly Seeing All This, released by ECM Records in March 1993, which features The Balanescu String Quartet plus other instrumentalists. The album includes new instrumental compositions, and one song: music set to Samuel Beckett's last work, written shortly before his death in 1989, the poem "What Is the Word", featuring the voice of Jack Bruce.
In 1993 he formed the Chamber Music and Songs ensemble, featuring his trumpet plus Mona Larsen (voice), Bjarne Roupé (guitar), Kim Kristensen (keyboards), and a string quartet consisting of Marianne Sørensen (violin), Mette Winther (viola), Gunnar Lychou (viola), and Helle Sørensen (cello). Its premiere took place at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse in September, followed by a studio production at Denmark Radio.
Cerco un Paese Innocente, a "Suite of Songs and Interludes for Voice, Untypical Big Band, and Chamber Ensemble", with words by the Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, had its premiere in concert at Denmark Radio in January 1994. Featured were the voice of Mona Larsen, Mantler's ensemble, and the Danish Radio Big Band, conducted by Ole Kock Hansen. The work was subsequently recorded in the studio and released by ECM Records in 1995.
The School of Understanding ("sort-of-an-opera") had its premiere in August 1996 at Arken, the new Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. Participants included singers Jack Bruce, Mona Larsen, Susi Hyldgaard, John Greaves, Don Preston, Karen Mantler, Per Jørgensen, and Robert Wyatt. The recording was released as a double-CD by ECM Records in November 1997, followed by a new live production at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin.
His One Symphony, commissioned by the Hessischer Rundfunk, was premiered in November 1998 by the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, conducted by Peter Rundel. The recording of the work was released in February 2000, together with previously recorded material featuring Mona Larsen and the Chamber Music and Songs ensemble interpreting songs set to texts by Ernst Meister.
Hide and Seek, an album of songs with words by Paul Auster (from his play by the same name) for chamber orchestra and the voices of Robert Wyatt and Susi Hyldgaard, was released in March 2001. Theatrical productions of the work, conceived by Rolf Heim (who has previously worked with Mantler on the School of Understanding performances), were produced in the Spring of 2002 in Copenhagen (Kanonhallen, February) and Berlin (Hebbel Theater, March).
He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for Improvised Music in 2004.
He is currently working on various chamber music projects, including a series of concertos for soloists in a variety of different instrumental contexts. The first one completed, Concerto for Marimba and Vibraphone (commissioned by Portuguese percussionist Pedro Carneiro), was premiered at the Hessischer Rundfunk in March 2005 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, conducted by Pascal Rophé.
FROM AN INTERVIEW : I wanted to use synthesizers (Don Preston) in place of an orchestra, but without actually imitating an orchestra. It's one of the records I have recorded where I wouldn't change one note.

get it here


Adam Eleven said...

Hi MS, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, Kayn is great, and Infra, Makro, Tektra and the fourth early box (don't remember the name) are fantastic. I'm looking for the following three things:
(1) Tonto's Expanding Head Band: It's about time; (2) Suzanne Ciani: Voices of Packaged Souls; (3) Machine No.9 (with Deuter). Anything out there on your shelves? Adam

Adam Eleven said...

...and I forgot Achim Reichel's Grüne Reise & Echo....(requests). I really enjoy your blog and the way you're treating the music (with sincere background info, putting things into context, making lingages to other artists etc.). It's by far the best blog I've seen so far. Great! Adam.

wahab said...

Removals Preston
I am so glad to hear how well you are doing, Preston! We hope to come for a visit in the fall.