Tuesday, March 14, 2006

musical reclamation - "I'm A Believer"

pic: Russell Herron

A couple weeks ago I was asked to do one of the strangest jobs I can remember. Iranian artist Reza Aramesh got my number from someone and asked if I could put a small band together for two performances in Trafalgar Square. We met up at the ICA (sponsors/organisers of the event) and he told me he wanted to use music from Nazi Germany, specifically some of the military music that was played during the 1934 Nuremberg Rally. He gave me a copy of a DVD of 'The Triumph of The Will' by Leni Riefenstahl, and he chose three extracts. I spent a few days transcribing these and arranging them for tuba, trombone, two trumpets, tenor sax and drums. In the final performances, the music was pretty incidental - the main body of the work was 32 guys (mostly 2nd generation immigrants) in black suits, basically doing the 'Changing if the Guard' routine, as done by the household cavalry outside Buckingham Palace. I don't know what most of the audience thought of it - I suspect very few had a clue what was going on, but it was thought-provoking stuff which had something to say on many levels.

I was very happy to be able to take music that had been put alongside something grotesque in 1934, and give it new resonances. We played three pieces - two fairly standard oom-pah marches, but the middle one was a simple slow beautiful thing that was reminiscent of Nimrod in Elgar's Enigma Variations.

pic: Russell Herron


At 2:44 am, Blogger est said...

wow buzzard boy.. quite a gig that... and i love the uniformity of the orchestra ja?


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