Wed July 10, 2019

Christian Muthspiel Quartet 'Seaven Teares – A Tribute to John Dowland' (A/F)

Christian Muthspiel: trombone, piano, e-piano, compositions
Lorenz Raab: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Franck Tortiller: vibraphone
Beate Wiesinger: bass

As long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the music of the Renaissance, with its polyphonic interweaving of voices that seemingly float on forever, unimpeded by bar lines.

Now, 450 years after the birth of John Dowland, I have embarked with my fellow musicians on yet another journey to explore the ways into which the “Sound of Elisabethan England”, with its sketchy and enigmatic notation, can be translated into today‘s language of jazz. Interestingly, when you compare the stylistics of the modern era with those of the Renaissance, you can see the importance that improvisation has held in the music of Dowland and his contemporaries.

All of the compositions in this recording are based on Dowland‘s “Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares” instrumental cycle, in which seven different types of figurative tears are rendered polyphonically by five violas da gamba and a lute. The metamorphoses I propose stay close to the thematic content of the originals and use the special quality of Dowland’s lines and the resulting harmonies as fundamental structural elements to be rethought, modified and reinterpreted in a new context.

In this way, seeds from Dowland’s masterpieces from the turn of the 16th to the 17th century have grown into new works that lie somewhere in the creative field between chamber music and jazz and serve as frameworks for interaction and improvisation within our quartet. (Christian Muthspiel, translation by Karin Kaminker)