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Modern Mozart

img  Tobias

As the Mozart-year is approaching, the Classical world seems to be going totally nuts: Everybody's talking about it/him/his music, CD-boxes full of his music are either being reissued or recorded, concerts are being held, more are being prepared and one half of Germany is fighting over the other about who owns the man's last portrait. No wonder the waves are spilling over: Two current projects are proving that even leaving "Amadeus" aside, Mozart is turning into a "Pop"-phenomenon again.

First off, there's hughes de Courson with his second installment of "Mozart in Egypt". Born in Paris, he spent longer periods of his life in Spain and discovered cultural diversity as a powerful artistic force. Consequently, he was one of the 70s leading figures when it came to exploring the different folk scenes of Europe and through his own "Ballon Noir"-label, he offered "World Music" one of its first homes in the music industry. A scholarship enabled him to travel Israel, Egypt, Turkey and other nations of the Middle East and Orient and he was quickly won over by their music. 1997, the first "Mozart in Egypt"-album was released - at the time both a daring experiment and a major commercial success (a total of 300.000 discs was sold worldwide). Part 2 is now just as bold and even bigger concept-wise. A total of 200 musicians was involved in the project, including the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble du Caire and many eastern-European and oriental choirs. With new titles such as "Al Sahara", "The Queen of the 1001 nights" and "Shadyal Symphony", this aims less at being a 1:1 translation but rather at creating something entirely new. Out now on EMI.

Then there's "Mozart revisited" (no, dreaming up exciting new titles is no specialty of the new generation of Mozart-fans). Austrian Jazz-Combo "Nouvelle Cuisine" has always preferred wandering along the edges of their genre, neither scared of long, drifting improvisational excursions, nor of humour and a certain Pop-appeal. Now, they have found enough sponsors to realize an ambitious project. Even though "jazzing" up classical music always seems to involve an involuntary comic factor, this time the goal was "not to make a joke of it but take the soul of it". As overly-striking as this statement may be, you'll get the point: They roamed the archives of the composer for parts and pieces that could stand on their own, always looking for drama and intensity. Mozarts music, as much as they revered it, to them was more of a giant playground than a sacred shrine. You can tell by listening to "new standards" such as "Lydian Angel", "Priest" or "Lullaby". Austrian record company Quinton is taking the honours for this one.

Cross-Over is nothing new anymore and especially "Mozart in Egypt" can not expect to raise eyebrows as much in 2005 as it did in 1997. On the other hand, there is sure to be a more welcoming reception now as there was in the scpetic 90s - de Courson anyway is taking his music on a grand tour from France to - you guessed it - Egypt.

Homepage: EMI Music - Hughes de Courson
Homepage: Nouvelle Cuisine
Homepage: Quinton

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