Music from the Elizabethan era by an electric consort. Electric Consort was premiered at Alba Nova 2014 and subsequently performed at Mafestival, Bijloke and Festival van Vlaanderen.
18. May: Classical Next, Rotterdam (NL)
We also have sound-houses, where we practice and demonstrate all sounds, and their generation. We have harmonies which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds. Divers instruments of music likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have, together with bells and rings that are dainty and sweet...
These intriguing words from Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) formed a starting point for Zwerm to delve into the repertoire of the English Renaissance music. Inspired by the popular genre of consort music, Zwerm will transform its instrumentation of an electric guitar quartet into a contemporary consort - or “electric consort” - and pay tribute to some of the old masters in a contemporary setting.
By re-interpretating the very popular “In Nomine”-tune, which inspired composers like John Taverner, Christopher Tye, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and John Dowland, just to name a few; or by making new adaptations of consort-songs with often obvious links to folk music; Zwerm will playfully revisit certain classics of the repertoire in its alter ego of “Electric Consort”. Lastly also the deep fascination with melancholy, so typical for their time, will be addressed in different ways.
'One critic described the guitar quartet Zwerm as “exciting, sometimes alienating and always quirky”. Zwerm take modern electric guitars and pedals and time-travel back to the English renaissance. There -- armed with advanced performance gadgetry -- they tackle the works of Tallis, Dowland and others.
That may sound blasphemous, but hearing the result is to believe in something you scarcely thought possible: that pieces written centuries ago are reinvigorated by the same instruments Jimi Hendrix set on fire and Kurt Cobain smashed to bits.
Zwerm’s music is raw and indelicate. Their records unfold like documentaries, featuring a pastiche of ambient street noise, song samples and spoken texts over layered guitars. If composers like Byrd and Tavener couldn’t anticipate such a radical overhaul of their music, they surely wouldn’t have found it alienating. Zwerm are tinkerers who cracked the code of centuries-old music, and made it new again. Zwerm play the music of the past, the present, and the future, all at once.' (Classical Next 2017)
Electric Consort is production of Zwerm, with the artistic assistance of Jurgen de Bruyn (Zefiro Torna) in collaboration with MA Festival & Alba Nova festival, with the support of the Flemish Government. Concept & development: Zwerm. Live music ZWERM. Sound design & sound engineer: Johan Vandermaelen. Scenography & Light design: Lucas Van Haesbroeck. Photo: Mark Rietveld. Thanks to: Walpurgis.