※ Consort Spectrale ※

Che Chen - recorder, viol, lute
Robbie Lee - recorder, portative organ, lute
Stephan Mathieu - virginals, zither, cymbals
Jozef van Wissem - lute

A recital celebrating one of the most important composers of the renaissance era, Josquin des Prez, who died 490 years ago.

Each performance is dedicated to one of des Prez’ songs, presented as sustained spectral versions on period instruments using extended playing techniques to create a state of magical standstill and reflexion.

Consort Spectrale is available for concerts in Europe between September 09-18. 2011

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Che Chen and Robbie Lee are Brooklyn, NY based multi-instrumentalists. Over the last several years they have been cultivating an approach to improvisation that is characterized by a deep commitment to listening and interaction in the moment. It is an approach that embraces both interplay and independence, an insistence on pure sound and spontaneous re-imaginings of folk and minimalist forms. Interested in human production of, and interaction with, acoustical phenomena, their improvisations tend to emphasize the overlap and feedback between psychological, acoustic and electronic processes. While they have increasingly focused on the possibilities afforded by the combination of violin and various woodwinds, they draw on a battery of instruments that includes woodwinds, bowed and plucked strings, keyboard instruments, percussion, tape machines, various electrical devices and their voices. The duo have also employed a variety of early European instruments in their music, including baroque recorders of all sizes, chalumeau, crumhorns, rackets, portative organ, clavichord, dulce melos, virginal and lutes. In addition to many separate and solo projects, Chen and Lee also collaborate with Dutch Lutenist, Jozef Van Wissem, in the trio Heresy of the Free Spirit.

Chen and Lee have released an LP entitled, Begin and Continue! and several CDR’s on their own Telegraph Harp imprint and have toured in the United States and Europe.

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Devoted to what he terms The Liberation of the Lute, Jozef van Wissem’s compositions for the instrument have involved a dynamic mix of conceptual, minimalist, classical and improvisational strategies. Over the last two decades, he has used cut-and-paste tactics, created palindromic compositions by playing pieces forwards and then backwards and used field recordings and free improvisation to create a sound world that is at once meditative and surprising, new and arcane. He composes mirror image melodies that step up and then back down seemingly without end. Van Wissem’s music therefore does not have a traditional linear progression, nor leads to a climax, it rather stays on the same level of intensity. It doesn’t demand concentrated listening, as it will bring the listener in a state of concentrated listening. Van Wissem is able to bridge the language of 17th century music with that of the 21st century without compromising the timbre and resonance of traditional lute playing techniques.

Jozef van Wissem has records out on Important Records and his own Incunabulum label and has collaborated with James Blackshaw, Haino Keiji and Jim Jarmusch amongst others. Van Wissem studied lute in New York with Pat O’Brien and released a classical lute CD A Rose By Any Other Name consisting of anonymous lute pieces. He lectures at Harvard, Wesleyan University, Mills College amongst others and was commissioned by the National Gallery of London to compose a sound piece to Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors.

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Stephan Mathieu is a self taught composer and performer of his own music, working in the fields of electroacoustics and abstract digitala. His sound is largely based on early instruments, environmental sound and obsolete media, which are recorded and transformed by means of experimental microphony, re-editing techniques and software processes involving spectral analysis and convolution; it has been compared to the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, the work of Colorfield artists Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly.

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