The guiding principle for the collaboration between Simon Christensen and Robert Schaller has been to create an aesthetic zone where aural and visual input can co-exist on a parallel footing.
Christensen and Schaller started working together in 2012, and the collaboration has thus far resulted in four distinct works which are featured on the DVD/Blu-ray recording: Signals, Three Years On, If Not One and One, and Mail. A fifth work, Schaller’s 2011 film In The Shadow of Marcus Mountain, is also featured with no musical score.
Mail from 2013 was Schaller and Christensen’s first collaboration, and was created simultaneously by filmmaker and composer.
Composer and music journalist Frank J. Oteri writes about Mail in the DVD booklet:
"According to Schaller, “The music was not written for the film, nor the film made for the music: they were made as parts of a single score, to be performed live.” Curiously, it is perhaps also the most narrative of the works featured herein, albeit in a non-linear way. In the three parts of Schaller’s film, a letter is sent in the mail, written out, and then received. (The author of the letter and its recipient are performed herein by Michelle Ellsworth and Lauren Beale.)
Christensen’s music combines a completely notated tri-partite cello score with improvisations by the composer alternately on zither, violin, and back to zither. “I play it as I feel like,” Christensen explained, “simple slide figures and sustained notes.” The result adds an almost Delta blues-like quality to the cello’s insistent saltando or jeté ostinatos, a technique in which the bow is literally bounced on the strings."
Read more about Chamber Cinema Set at Dacapo Records