Studio Dan



Vital Weekly 1292, Frans De Waard, 2021-08-01

In Vital Weekly 1289, I reviewed a short CD with a composition by Christian F. Schiller and performed by Studio Dan and two soloists. Now the ensemble sends me two more releases with compositions commissioned by them. They also use soloists again. In the first release, 'Fanfare III', the composer is Daniel Riegler, who is also the leader and founder (in 2005) and saxophonist Michel Doneda the soloist of duty. The piece was composed for the "opening of the JazzWerkstatt Wien's third Vienna Roomservice festival in 2012", which is quite a mouthful. In the ensemble, we find string and wind instruments along with percussion and electronics. 'Fanfare III' is a forty-minute piece of strong modern classical music. The word Jazz from the festival was a bit of distraction, even when I would think elements from jazz music can be detected in this piece, especially within some of the rhythmic structures of the music. Even when I know not too much about classical music I enjoyed these forceful, staccato bumps and dissonant notes that arrive with some considerable force, but in the abrupt approaches but also when the ensemble plays sustaining fields of tones. The electronics wave additional layers through the music, another abstraction if you will. It creates an unearthly, spooky atmosphere at times; it would be easy to use some of these as part of a horror film. This is forty minutes of scary music; play loud and be afraid! I enjoyed it a lot.

The other release with music performed by Studio Dan is by Fred Frith, formerly of Henry Cow, and music more in the field of improvised music, free jazz and composed music and he adapted some pieces of his for the ensemble. Three pieces from what I assume is a larger work, 'Rocket Science'. We only have '#1', '#5' and '#8' here, just ten minutes of music. Again, I am not the expert on anything modern classical music, but I would think the overall tone here is lighter and, perhaps, also a bit more traditional to my ears, even when, according to the information it is also dealing with a "non-European musical reference system". There is some jubilant about this music, I think, maybe more of a fanfare, especially in the first 'Rocket Science' than on the Riegler disc. Sadly this is all way too short for my taste, as I wouldn't have minded hearing some more variations of this.