Henrik Schwarz – Instruments (2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Henrik Schwarz – Instruments (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 41:35 minutes | 762 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Sony Classical

„Instruments“ is an acoustic project by internationally celebrated producer/performer/composer Henrik Schwarz. He is an artist highly on request to create energetic dance music productions for Boy George, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, indie stars Ane Brun, The Foals, Omar, or jazz legends like Mark Murphy. His intense laptop performances in major clubs and at the largest international music festivals in Japan, USA, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America catapulted Schwarz into the Top Ten League of electronic music performers.

The classical arrangements on Instruments are created by Johannes Brecht as a fully acoustic listening experience of Schwarz’s chart topping melodic compositions. On this album, 7 of his compositions are transcribed for a contemporary music ensemble, including the first single ever released that got worldwide attention – “Marvin” (which came out in 2002).

Both performed and recorded strictly acoustic, without the backbone of any electronic instruments, the pureness and elegance of wood brass, strings and percussions are transporting the repetitive grooves and hymnal anthems into renowned concert halls.

The recordings made in Japan supplied the source material for Instruments. Included are acoustic chamber music arrangements of Schwarz’s EDM hits like the 2006 remix of “Wamims” and “Walk Music,” which he has used as an opener for his live sets, plus one new composition “In Bjorndal.”

All the pieces have been arranged for a complete body of strings (violins, violas, cellos and double bass). The strings are joined by low woodwind (bass flute, bass clarinet and bassoon), which not only supply individual timbres, but are also a source of rhythm like a vibraphone, a percussion instrument that is also a part of the new arrangements. In this context, the focus is on the magic and the magnetic power of minimalism, something that American composer Steve Reich used to influence the pop and techno scene with his cleverly interlocking rhythmic chains.

Right at the outset of “Walk Music,” there is a magical combination of single, lyrical notes from the strings and mysterious vibraphone figures in the background. The following track, “Marvin,” literally sprouts from a single note that is constantly repeated. Here, the bass flute, the viola and the cello evolve a rhythmic energy whose slightly burlesque tone is initially reminiscent of the neo-classicism of Stravinsky – at least until the orchestra strikes up a groove in several parts.

Nor is this by any means the only reference to the great classical masters: inconspicuous reminiscences of this kind are cunningly sprinkled in at liberty. The piece “In Bjorndal” radiates a curious and seductive melancholy magic that could almost be a tribute to Arnold Schonberg and his prismatic style. For “Leave My Head Alone Brain Seven,” arranger Johannes Brecht added to the ensemble a bassett horn, a member of the clarinet family that Mozart was particularly fond of. In “I Exist Because Of You” the cello sometimes plays the so-called ‘Bartok pizzicati’ that go back to the Hungarian composer: the cellist twangs the string and then lets it spring back against the fingerboard.

The harmonies and sounds of the original tracks are played here by the strings and also a number of woodwind instruments, among which the bass clarinet has the starring role. Time and time again, production techniques from electronic music such as loops or low-cuts are transformed into orchestral arrangements, with frequencies being muffled over the space of several bars (e.g. in “Leave My Head Alone Brain Seven”). The result is a new kind of music played on classical instruments. A music that doesn’t deny its roots in the club world and could only be created on the computer; a music that manages to transport the energy of electronic dance music to the classical concert hall – with the bass drum only present in the listener’s head.

1 Walk Music Four 06:31
2 Marvin Two 10:23
3 Leave My Head Alone Brain Seven 05:57
4 In Björndal 01:37
5 Cloud Three 03:28
6 Wamims 08:33
7 I Exist Because of You Two 05:06



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