by trevor elkin
Perhaps unlike any other instrument, the cello has an innate quality that somehow picks up the micro emotional expressions of each performer, magnifying and modifying them. It’s maybe its ability to create a range of sounds that resemble the human voice, breathing, sighing, crying, rasping, which make it so engaging to listen to.
Longstanding Nils Frahm collaborator and cellist Anne Müller is also one of a new German Chamber Music ensemble, Solo Collective, a trio comprised also of Alex Stolze (violin) and British pianist and producer Sebastian Reynolds. With each taking turns in the spotlight and the others providing supporting roles, their aim is to smoothly move between solo pieces which bring the character of performer and instrument into focus. “Solo? Repeat!”, streaming below, is a beautifully fragile and colourful arrangement for cello performed by Müller and Stolz. There is a palpable sense of determination or longing for something, which cuts through the piece’s opening hesitance or fatigue.
“With famous composers for solo cello such as J.S.Bach and Gaspar Cassadó in mind, I set myself the goal of writing a simple solo cello piece for my debut solo record. But did I achieve my goal? There is nothing more challenging than writing a simple solo piece for just one instrument without any accompaniment from additional layers or effects.
‘Solo? Repeat!’ starts with a simple melody. The melody repeats and then arpeggios in a form inspired by Cassadó, with the simple melody set in an unexpected harmonic context.
The chord progression that the melody is created from is then developed into a rhythmic set of patterns for the ‘Repeat!’ section. As it further develops the ‘Repeat!’ builds into a melodically expressive conversation specially arranged for this live performance between violin and cello using the melodic materiel from the “Solo?” section.
This live version was performed with some beautiful violin playing from Alex Stolze and was recorded during the debut Solo Collective performance at the Roter Salon in Berlin in February 2017.
It is a ‘Solo?’ that ‘Repeats’!”
– Anne Müller
Solo? Repeat! comes from Solo Collective’s debut record, ‘Part One’, released via Stolze’s Nonostar Records. The trio will tour the UK this September and November, you can find the dates below.