14 attempts to love Richard Wagner

(2002) 100' / for trombone (narration), cello (melodica, vocals), double bass (melodica, vocals), drums (accordion, e-guitar, vocals) partially based on themes from Richard Wagner
text: Nietzsche, Mann, Marinetti, Saint-Saëns, Satie

premiere: February 2002, Stuttgart; Scott Roller (vc), Wolfgang Fernow (db), Michael Kiedaisch (perc), Mike Svoboda (tbn.)
commission: Südwest Rundfunk für das ECLAT Festival

  • Two steps forward - one back (text: F. Nietzsche)  
  • Steckbrief - Wolfgangs Arie (text: R. Wagner and the police station Dresden)  
  • First Encounter - Michaels Arie (text: Friedrich Nietzsche)  
  • Mix and Match  
  • T-chord (text: C. Saint-Saëns)  
  • Liebestod  
  • Tangotanztees (text: Fillipo Tomaso Marinetti)  
  • Punching Bag  
  • Dynamite - Mike's Aria (text: Erik Satie)  
  • Die Werkeinführung (text: Thomas Mann)  
  • River Run  
  • Static Cymbal - Scott's Aria (text: Friedrich Nietzsche)  
  • Ballast

program text

Richard Wagner, the megalomanic megalith of European culture, is a name which rings a bell with practically everyone. They might not know that Wagner was a composer, but they associate the name with "high-culture". The fact that he stands for this and much more, especially for Central Europeans, makes the phenomenon Wagner fertile ground for this musical discourse. Of the "14 Attempts to Love Richard Wagner", nine are my own compositions, five others are "co-compositions" between Wagner and myself. Here, we take some of his greatest hits (Rheingold-Ouverture, Meistersinger, Liebestod, "Tristan-chord", etc.), turn them around, and provide the audience different and surprising viewpoints towards him and his music. The texts - some spoken, some sung - are statements and commentaries  for, against and about Wagner by Camille Saint-Saëns, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Thomas Mann and Friedrich Nietzsche. They give the piece the combative surface that tickles the intellectual ribs of most the listeners to whom we have had the pleasure of presenting this program. Together with my ingenious partners, Scott Roller (cello), Wolfgang Fernow (bass) and Michael Kiedaisch (drums), we run the gamut of our collective roots: from funk to free improvisation, celebrating our privileged status as free-agents between music styles. However one chooses to describe the concert, it is has at least one thing in common with Wagner's world: it is entertainment - for adults. - Mike Svoboda, January 2002

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