Ernst Reijseger - Tell me everything
EDISON KLASSIEK AWARD 2010
Category: Contemporary Music
Ernst Reijseger, born in Naarden, Holland in 1954, is one of the most important and also extraordinary cellists in the contemporary music scene.
His instrument is his voice: his cello sings, laughs, exults, laments, shouts, squeals, bellows, howls, chirps, gets out of hand and then settles down again to hum a simple melody.
For ten years Ernst Reijseger and Winter & Winter have worked together to create a very special canon. The most varied projects with the Tenores e Cuncordu from Sardinia, classical artists, singers and percussionists from Africa, and jazz musicians are realised alongside film music for Werner Herzog.
Yet Ernst Reijseger keeps coming back to solo performances. Whether in his home city Amsterdam, in Munich, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Milan, Florence, Venice, Moscow, St. Petersburg, New York or Sao Paolo, across the world his unusual concerts are greeted with enthusiasm.
Ernst Reijseger always lets himself be inspired by the different atmosphere of each new location, and during his performance he responds with acute sensitivity to the moods of the moment, working these feelings into his work and creating new listening experiences, each of them unique and unreproducible.
In Spring 2008 Ernst Reijseger travels to Tuscany and retreats to the vineyard of Castello di Volpaia, on a hill not far from Greve in Chianti, to record his new album of works for cello. Ernst Reijseger has found a remarkable place that lets him unfold his spirituality in a very special way.
The former church of La Commenda di San Eufrosino in Volpaia offers him a refuge where he can form his new sound-image in this particular atmosphere. He lets this wonderful space, this splendid location work on him, consciously incorporating the moods of early morning or the suspense of the night into his playing.
The result is melodies of profound beauty, sometimes interrupted by harsh rhythmic strokes and wild sound improvisations. The American painter Jerry Zeniuk is the first to hear the album »Tell Me Everything«, and is so deeply impressed and inspired that he creates new pictures to transpose this music visually.
The singing of the birds of Volpaia in the early morning opens the album »Tell Me Everything«. With "Bidderosa" Ernst Reijseger bursts through the location's specific sounds, unfolding his music with powerful tones and strong lines. A few years earlier, Ernst Reijseger has composed "Bidderosa" on the coast of Sardinia, at a cliff-lined bay called "Bidderosa". After rehearsals with the Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei, the cellist goes back to the sea by himself and writes this composition. The cellist Tristan Honsinger is one of the cellists Ernst Reijseger prizes most, and "Tristan's Tune" is one of his favourite pieces. Behind almost all of Ernst Reijseger's compositions, there's a little story, and "Moby's Night Out" recalls the underwater songs of whales.
For rehearsal work with a dance group, the Dutch cellist records an improvisation in his home in Amsterdam, and since the dancers like the music so much, Ernst Reijseger transcribes this recording, and the result is "Dancing for D". "Tempered" plays with the tuning of notes, and Japanese pianist and composer Fumio Yasuda writes "Song of Nenna" for this exceptional artist, a work that, along with "Flurry", resounds amidst the centuries-old walls of La Commenda.
"Tell Me Everything" is a sound performance that Ernst Reijseger records partly in the depths of night, and on the following mornings. Completely on his own, just a couple of almost 50-year-old tube microphones capture his sound waves and record this sound picture.
Perhaps one should listen to this album in complete darkness, so as to let Ernst Reijseger's colours and forms bloom fully, just as the colours glow in Jerry Zeniuk's pictures.
– Stefan Winter (Translation: Richard Toop)