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15 Questions to Franui

img  Tobias

What's on your schedule right now?
We have just released our new CD “Brahms Volkslieder” on the Austrian label “col legno”. With our „Musicbanda Franui“ we have now taken up Johannes Brahms’ German Folk Songs, which the composer published as an old man in 1893/94. These songs tell tales of affection and farewell, of love-madness, loss and immeasurable grief. It´s a collection both beautiful and eerie, dedicated to a collective experiencing of grand emotions.
With this in mind, it is an ideal starting point for Franui to study Brahms’ songbook against the light, and take the music further, always aware that quite a few “folk songs” have been freely invented as such by now almost forgotten composers and lyric writers.
In our adaptation, the folk song heritage is subject to a constant transformation and joined together in ever-new combinations. Verses whole and half, melodies and lines of text find each other in the midst of a well-ordered chaos.
On December 18 and 19, we will do two performances of this music in Salzburg, together with the conductor Gustav Kuhn and his Haydn Orchestra. Franui will introduce Brahms´ four Symphonies with our new music.

What is your earliest musical memory?
We all remember our fathers playing the guitar.

Was there a deciding moment, which made you want to become an artist?
No, never.

How satisfied are you with life as an artist?
I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied. (One answer from each musician)

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Good music touches the listener, a good live performance pierces into the hearts of the audience. You have to make ambiguous statements, music, that weeps and laughs at the same time. 

How do you balance your personal emotions and the intentions of the composer in your interpretations?
As we perform our own compositions, every emotion actually is our intention. When we keep our compositions nearby the original music, like we do sometimes with Schubert or Brahms, we found our way to play these scores as pure as possible, without any contemporary phrasing or modern fashion. Then a simple funeral march sounds like pushing forward and being pulled back simultaneously.

In which way, would you say, is your cultural background reflected in your performances?
Alpine folk music

How would you describe and rate the scene for classical music of the country you are currently living in?
Austria's standing in classical music is highly overrated, but, for sure, there are still some very famous places, festivals, institutions and communities that particularly are concerned with classical music, but the scene needs to open up itself to new ideas.

Do you consider it important that more young people care for classical music? If so, how, do you think, could this be achieved?
It is important, and we need really good teachers to get there.

How would you rate the importance of the Internet and new media for you personally?
Yes, important.

What’s your view on the relationship between musical education and music?

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Bach, Schubert, Mahler and lots of real contemporary stuff.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
Love (most of the time).

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
That's another cup of tea.

Picture by Bernhard Aichner

Brahms Volkslieder (Col Legno) 2008
Schubertlieder (Col Legno) 2007
Ende vom Lied (Col Legno) 2005
Frische Ware (Col Legno) 2000
Drüben (MCM) 1997

Col Legno

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