World premiere of Apparitions by Mads Emil Dreyer

Mads Emil Dreyer has written the work 'Apparitions' for a staged family concert, 'A Song of Salt and Water', which will be performed by Ensemble Recherche at a series of concerts in July.

"It is a performance which consists of music, scenography, lighting and a bit of interaction between the musicians and the audience," Mads Emil Dreyer explains. There are neither actors nor lyrics, but the concert tells a story about a journey into the sea, with singing fish and colourful goblets, but also with pollution and dying coral reefs. "The concert is aimed at school children and their families and has a didactic perspective without being explanatory," says Mads Emil Dreyer. In addition to his music, the work Seafloor Dawn Chorus (2018) by the Norwegian composer Kristine Tjøgersen is included in the concert.

In collaboration with a director, a playwright, a scenographer and a sound designer, Mads Emil Dreyer has developed various musical sequences that, so to speak, unfold around Tjøgersen's work.

"Kristine Tjøgersen's work is very concrete and mimics sounds from the underwater world as close as you can get," Mads Emil Dreyer explains and continues: "So we concluded that my work should have a looser connection to the subject and relate to the sea on a more associative level. We have divided the performance into scenes, where we start at the surface of the sea, gradually dive down, reach the bottom of the sea and rise back up.”

"I aimed for the music to be open and easy to listen to and of course support the story," says Mads Emil Dreyer, who describes the music as different atmospheres or timbral situations that you move through. "The sequence at the surface of the sea is very still and has something airy about it, and the last sequence, which is the ascent from the bottom of the ocean, consists quite concretely of notes moving upwards."

As the musicians also deliver the concert's dramatic content and interact with the audience, it has been a requirement that the music should be flexible in duration and the musicians should be able to move around. "I usually write everything down, so this was a great challenge," says Mads Emil Dreyer and adds: "Some of the musicians can't really move around with their instruments anyway, so the pianist, percussionist and cellist play by notes. The five mobile musicians have a very open role - but not an improvisational one. For each sequence, there are some simple musical ideas, musical cells, which they have to memorize and play in different order based on cues from coloured lamps placed on the stage.”

The lamps also play a role as visual, scenic components, because as the narrative moves further into the depths of the sea, darkness settles on stage and only the coloured lamps light up.

A Song of Salt and Water will be performed nine times in the Ensemblehaus Freiburg during the period 12 to 16 July. Find the full schedule and read more about the concert here.

Mads Emil Dreyer's Apparitions is published with support from Koda's Cultural Funds.