JACARANDA ENSEMBLE

Sebastian Pietsch, saxophone, Richard Mosthaf, didgeridoo, alpenhorn, Thomas Hoffmann, alpenhorn, french horn, Matthias Dressler, marimba, percussion, Thomas Ringleb, percussion

Sunday, 19 February at 16:30

Five musicians, principals of the Brandenburg Symphony, have put together an unusual ensemble as a result of a desire to experiment with new sounds. Through its music, the Jacaranda Ensemble builds a bridge between the cultures of the world. The positive response of the public as well as international respect has confirmed the unusual concept of the Jacaranda Ensemble.

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DERWISCH
alpenhorns, soprano saxophone, lurs, percussion

COLOR OF EARTH
bamboo saxophone, didgeridoo, alpenhorn, goblet drum, marimba, conga, percussion

KARRY DANCE
alpendidgeridoo, claves, flute, french horn, congas

MOUNTAINDREAM
alpenhorns, flute, marimba, vibraphone

MAUNA KEA
soprano saxophone, marimba, alpenhorns, percussion

MADRUGADA
didgeridoo, saxophone, alpenhorn, kettledrums, french horn, castanets, percussion

HEARTBEAT
marimba, alpenhorn, congas, maracas, temple blocks, percussion

 

INTERMISSION

 

SCHEGA
saxophone, lurs, percussion

STEP BY STEP
saxophone, alpenhorn, horn, marimba, percussion

CANTO DELLA LUNA
soprano saxophone, french horn, alpenhorn, marimba, percussion

FANCY NANCY BLUES
alpenhorns, tenor- and soprano saxophone, french horn, marimba, percussion

IMAGINATION
percussion, french horn

DANCE WITH FIRE
marimba, percussion

3RD STREET PROMENADE
alpenhorns, tenor saxophone, marimba, percussion

IRINSHAJA

Five musicians, principals of the Brandenburg Symphony, have put together an unusual ensemble as a result of a desire to experiment with new sounds. The instrumentation of this ensemble clearly demonstrates this idea: Alpenhorn, didgeridoo, saxophone and percussion, instuments whose origins often are thousands of miles apart, which are woven through a mixture of composed and improvised music into a musical tapestry.
Through its music, the Jacaranda Ensemble builds a bridge between the cultures of the world. The positive response of the public as well as international respect has confirmed the unusual concept of the Jacaranda Ensemble. Concert tours within Germany and abroad, as well as a positive reaction from the media are the visible results of this artistic endeavor.

The Musicians
Sebastian Pietsch, saxophone
born in Berlin, was employed by the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra during his studies at the Academy of Music in Berlin. Along with his task as a solo bassoonist and his performances as a concert soloist, he increasingly devoted his time to the saxophone. He thus became involved with various jazz bands and started playing film and theatre music. He got the chance to join an innovative, young team by joining the Jacaranda Ensemble in 1998. The collective impressions he gains from concert tours are the main impetus for his musical work.

Richard Mosthaf, didgeridoo/ alpenhorn
born in Stuttgart, went from the Academy of Music in Nurnberg to the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra in 1991. He has always been fascinated by the sounds and rhythms of other cultures. He studied the primitive technique of playing the didgeridoo and became enthusiastic about the alpenhorn. This led him to develop the alpine didgeridoo, which can be regularly heard in the concerts of the Jacaranda Ensemble.
Thomas Hoffmann, alpenhorn, french horn
born in Berlin, he was aware of the magical powers of music from a very early age thanks to the influence of his parents. After studying at the Academy of Music in Berlin his commitment to music led him to the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra. Along with his role as a principle horn player he dedicated his time to diverse musical projects. Since 1997 the alpenhorn has become an important focus of his attention. The analysis of the many musical impressions he gathered whilst on his travels led to the formation of the Jacaranda Ensemble.

Thomas Ringleb, percussion
born in Berlin, he studied at the Academy of Music in Berlin. After finishing his diploma he was member of the Berlin Radio Orchestra. As a member of various ensembles and orchestras of the most diverse genres, ranging from classic and rock to jazz, he has been involved in film, television and cd recordings. The Jacaranda Ensemble has profited since 2003 from his talent, experience and rhythmic inventiveness.

Matthias Dressler, marimba/ percussion
born in Berlin, he was immediately engaged by the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra after finishing his exams at the Academy of Music in Berlin. Along with his contribution to concerts by the orchestra and other well-known organizations, he also dedicated himself to the production of experimental and cross-over genre music. Big projects such as the Pink Floyd concert “The Wall” in Berlin in 1990 and the European concert “Metallica and Symphonic” in 1999 have all influenced his artistic career. His desire to become even more creative led to the creation of the Jacaranda Ensemble.

Thomas Hoffmann, Alphenhorn & French Horn
Born in Berlin, he was aware of the magical powers of music from a very early age thanks to the influence of his parents. After studying at the Academy of Music in Berlin his commitment to music led him to the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra. Along with his role as a principle horn player he dedicated his time to diverse musical projects. Since 1997 the alpenhorn has become an important focus of his attention. The analysis of the many musical impressions he gathered whilst on his travels led to the formation of the Jacaranda Ensemble.

Jacaranda – an African tree and the music of this world
By Wolfgang G. P. Heinsch

Perhaps the best way of approaching the Jacaranda ensemble and their music is not to expect music – or at least music in the usual, traditional sense. Rather one should prepare oneself for a reflection in sound of one’s own inner resonances and moods, immersing oneself in “the sounds of nature becoming music”.

Music is and always has been expression: expression of both universal and very personal feelings, of moods, but also of course of the conscious artistic process, working on, in and with the musical material. The one can never suffice without the other, and this remains true from age to age and from culture to culture. It is only the particular types of music, their sounds, rhythms, musical forms and formulations, the manner of ensemble playing, as well as their purpose, which are bound up with specific times and places.

Whether one thinks of the cult music of bygone ages; modern music secular or sacred; entertainment, the troubadours and dancing; the musical rhetoric of the baroque; the extravagance of the romantics or the ingenious theory-based structures of new music; the drum-defined dances and songs of the African continent; the music of Asia and the Middle-East, India or Australia: all of them are in the end simply giving expression to human sensibilities in relation to their specific worlds. Pragmatism is also involved in various ways: notes and sounds are means of communication and information serving the most diverse purposes and functions. The calls of shepherds or the whistling of the inhabitants of La Gomera are just as much examples of it as the martial music which attends acts of war, or the psychological use of “programme” music and modern advertising. The meditations of Zen Buddhism, the magical cultic immersions of Australian aborigines, or the ecstatic dances between temple and medieval processions (St. Vitus Dance) – notes and sounds simply support and enhance the release of something rooted deep in human nature.

Today we have a view of the whole which was denied to previous generations, an entire world of sound making, of music. And yet we are still a very long way from having a “harmonia mundi”, or world music. For that we need a focus which does not merely make a disjointed sequence of individual segments, reproducing them in an acoustical media show, but one with a genuine feeling for this cosmos which can bring it together. “Jacaranda” is the name of a group which is trying to turn this dream into a reality. The name of an African tree (whose linguistic meaning nobody has yet been able to decipher) also stands for a German instrumental ensemble which successfully uses alphorns, didgeridoos, clarinets, saxophones, bassoons, flutes, marimba, xylophone, congas, drums and timpani to turn the literal meaning of music on its head. The ensemble’s musicians simply lift the body of music out of the gravity of written form and content with which people are always trying to clothe it, using their instruments to serve a world-music in which there is nothing which cannot or should not exist. At any rate the five musicians, all of whom are members of the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, are building a musical world edifice which neither needs nor indeed permits stylistic definition. And if here or there one thinks one has identified the musicological source of a piece, and then the next sequence may lead one to quite different impressions.

This is not randomness, but rather intentional and methodic. The method is not gratuitous but instead one which derives from a lively approach to the intercultural impressions which the musicians gather on their journeys around the world, and from the sounds of their instruments in space, whose sound personalities are fused into an individual musical language which can surely claim to be a small piece of world music.

Of course Jacaranda also lets notes form motifs, motifs form melodies, happy or full of longing, cheerfully brisk or dreamy, impulsive or sharply accentuated. There are love songs and fanfares, ecstatic dances and devotional meditations, embedded in a tapestry of drum sounds, vividly coloured and overflowing with inventive ornamentation while resting on the rich bass of the alphorns. Hearing, one is drawn into a third musical dimension, where there are no styles, but simply expression. The titles reflect this. “Dervish” for example, where energetic oriental improvisations on the soprano saxophone (which incidentally one could take for a completely different instrument, something between a clarion and a Turkish oboe) is placed over rhythmic cymbal, accompanied by alphorn. Or “Colour of Earth”, which fuses the “incomprehensible” snorting and roaring of the Australian didgeridoo with the radiant stability of African rhythms on marimba and congas, over the sound of the alphorn, the yearning broad melodies of the saxophone sending them out into the skies of the globe. “Imagination” leads one into meditative soundscapes in which the metallic resonances of tam-tam, bells and cymbals large and small become finely chiseled reliefs, while in the furious rhythmic ecstasy of “Dance with Fire” the saxophone explodes into jazz breaks together with the marimba. The pieces are given their instrumental polish in a cooperative compositional process with the members of the group, and are powerfully suggestive.

A musical esperanto? Yes, because the five musicians of “Jacaranda” achieve the impossible in uniting the devotees of the most diverse musical genres under the crown of this one tree. The fascination of their music reaches out to old and young, attracting the classically-trained and the jazz-tuned ear alike, reconciling devotees of rock with lovers of folk music. Feelings, moods, states of experience are what are being addressed here, and these are timeless. Therefore this Esperanto is not an artificial language but perhaps rather the rediscovery of a primeval universe through the means of music.