venerdì 13 giugno 2014

Interview with Jonas Löffler by Andrea Aguzzi second part


If you had to choose, who is your favorite composer to play?

Maybe Johann Sebastian Bach. Even if that sounds all too easy...

I have, sometimes, the feeling that in our times music’s history flows without a particular interest in its chronological course, in our discotheque before and after, past and future become interchangeable elements, shall this be a risk of a uniform vision for an interpreter and a composer? The risk of a musical "globalization"? 

I do not think that there is anything risky happening at the moment. I also do not think that we are moving towards uniformity in music. I would even say that we are surrounded by a plurality of styles of music that has rarely been bigger in the past (as far as it is possible to judge something like this). On the other side there is of course something like a musical globalization going on at the moment with Western harmonic models being used as some kind of a musical lingua franca around the world. Still, I would not say that the result of that process is uniformity – people are just influenced by the ubiquity of certain musical styles and create their personal music. If you take a pop musician from the North Caucasus (say, Aslan Kulov from the Russian republic of Adygea) who makes his take on pop music in combining structural and harmonic elements of Western pop music with some distinct elements of Russian pop and the folk music of the Northern Caucasus regions the result is an amalgam that is in a structural way similar to what happens when a composer of contemporary Classical music (say, José María Sánchez-Verdú) includes elements of medieval music into his compositions (as Sánchez-Verdú did in his Machaut-Architekturen). Of course there is no other similarity in these musics that goes beyond the structural similarity of the amalgam. But only the comparison should be sufficient to show that we have such a wealth of musical material around that it is impossible to speak of uniformity of any kind. Also, historically speaking, there is nothing new in this interchange that happens right now: If you look into the music of the 15th century, all that happens around Europe at this time is a big interchange and amalgamation of musical styles.

Let’s talk about marketing. How much do you think it’s important for a modern musician? I mean: how much is crucial to be good promoters of themselves and their works in music today?

I think it is (and was) a crucial part of being a musician to be able to present yourself in an attractive way on the market. Even if you are a winner of numerous competitions you still have to be able to market yourself, to try to stand out from the crowd of excellent musicians around the world. How this marketing should work is a personal decision of the individual, there is no recipe. At least not as far as I know with my humble experience in that field. 

Which composer (or which historical movement) do you think is easiest for the non-musician listener to appreciate? Do you think they enjoy pieces that are more technically difficult or just more "flashy"?

I don't know. There are so many non-musicians in this world that I think an answer to this question is impossible.

Please tell us five essential records, to have always with you .. the classic five discs for the desert island


  1. Joye – Les plaintes de Gilles de Bins dit Binchois († 1460) – Ensemble Graindelavoix/Björn Schmelzer (Glossa, 2006) 
  2. O gemma lux – The isorhythmic motets of Guillaume Du Fay – Huelgas Ensemble/Paul van Nevel (harmonia mundi, 2000)
  3. Lamentationes – Music by Festa, Ockeghem and Gombert – Josquin Capella (Dabringhaus und Grimm, 2005) 
  4. fremde zeit addendum – Music by Jakob Ullmann – Various Interprets (Edition RZ, 2012) 
  5. Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward – Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (Constellation, 2001) 


What are your five favorite scores? 

I generally love the scores of Jakob Ullmann, they are meticulously done, incredibly beautiful and radical in terms of notation and the sounding result of the music. Then maybe: Belle, Bonne, Sage by Baude Cordier in the Codex Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 564. Forlorn Hope Fancye by John Dowland. Serenade by Mauricio Kagel that I played recently and that struck me with its abundance of details and choreographic determination. Fantaisie élégiaque by Fernando Sor that somehow carries so much deep affection in it.

With whom would you like to play? 

I do not have any particular wish to play with a certain person. In the past I had the chance to play chamber music with many fantastic musicians and somehow I am optimistic that this could be similar in the future.

What kind of music do you listen to usually?

As you might have seen from some previous answers I have a big passion for late medieval and Renaissance music, mainly vocal polyphony. I also love and listen a lot to Georgian vocal polyphony, especially the sacred variety of that music, i.e. Georgian church music. I also love to listen to some contemporary music and free improv (the Saxophonist John Butcher is a favorite of mine). Otherwise, in pop music I like bands like godspeed you black emperor! or Silver Mt. Zion or the German rock band Tocotronic. Moreover I have a secret passion for obscure pop music from Eastern European or Middle Eastern countries, especially from Turkey and the Caucasus region.

Your next projects? When we will see you playing in Italy?

As I just finished my Master's degree there will not be any bigger projects very soon as my Master's recital occupied a big part of my time and creativity. In the next months and after summer, I will surely play some concerts, maybe here in Switzerland, in Germany and in France to promote Terra. Hopefully I will also find the possibility to play some concerts in Italy as I love the country and also would like to work a little on my Italian.
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