Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop’s Call | Nemu Records

nemu records

Albrecht Maurer – gothic fiddle, viola, voice | Norbert Rodenkirchen – transverse flute, alto flute

Recorded April 2013 at Kreuzkirche Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany. Mastered by Reinhard Kobialka, Topaz Studio, Cologne, Germany. Layout concept by Christiane Resch,  cover photo “Leplop” and Deborah Converge in “Sedona” by Deborah McMillion Noring. Duo photo by Matthias Creutzinger. Produced by Albrecht Maurer & Norbert Rodenkirchen.

Tracklist: 1. Loplop’s Call [2:38] 2. Whatever met my ear [10:27] 3. Zeynebim [2:05] 4. Loplop’s mind [5:55] 5. Die Windsbraut [3:53] 6. Wall Ums Rot [4:25] 7. Kachinas [7:24] 8. Loplop’s home [1:47] 9. Pour oublier [1:29] 10. Helpless flames [6:17] 11. Loplop’s dream [1:13] 12. Peggy [5:09] Total Time: 53:14

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop's Call | nemu records

Loplop’s Call

is the second program of Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen influenced by aspects of visual arts as a catalyst for a new approach to musical composition and improvisation.

Their first CD, released in 2006 on Nemu Records was called Hidden Fresco. The two musicians dedicated themselves to a famous lecture of Leonardo da Vinci.

Their new project Loplop’s Call is about the surrealistic painter and poet Max Ernst who was born in the Rhineland, went to Paris and later to the USA to become one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century. His artworks and poetry as well as his fascinating biography inspired the two Cologne based musicians to create a tableau of own compositions and improvisations for viola & alto flute and for fiddle & transverse flute. In these works they orient themselves towards the sound of the early 20th century. At the same time they create a contemporary modern form of surrealistic music, influenced by the magic power of the subconscious.

The central theme of the album is the fantasy figure Laptop, the superior of the birds, who was one of Max Ernst’s most important artistic obsessions and his alter ego. Loplop is always connected with Nachtigall (the nightingale] – also called Windsbraut [the wind’s bride].


Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen work together since 2004. They started with free improvisation on their medieval instruments fiddle, rebec, transverse flutes and harp. Soon they created their own sound and style of composing and arranging for these special instruments, also using voice and extended technics.

Nearly at the same time they both became members of the internationally renowned group for medieval music Ensemble Dialogos in Paris. Besides they worked together in various other early music projects as well as with a number of avantgarde artists, dancers and multimedia artists. With their first program Hidden Fresco – New sounds on medieval instruments the duo played several tours and did their New York debut in St.Paul’s church, Chelsea in 2008, invited and featured by the German House at New York University and www. In 2011 Maurer £ Rodenkirchen revitalized their modern instruments viola and alto flute for their new CD Loplop’ s Call and present their first project in a non medieval, completely modern context.

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop's Call | nemu records

Duality comes in many forms

– opportunities to compare and contrast. The interaction of a duo, in consonance, in conflict, in call and response. The duo of Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen, on a variety of fiddles and flutes respectively, are free to carry on the flying dialogue of wind and bird liberated from the earthly constraints of a rhythm section. The duality of art and music. As in their previous Nemu release Hidden Fresco which drew on visual imagery and whose title was suggested by a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht and Norbert have taken inspiration from the visual arts – in particular the painter, sculptor and collagist Max Ernst. Like many surrealists, Ernst explored the duality of conscious life and dream states and discovered that for himself, birds were both a familiar animal and an alternate persona.

This led to Ernst’s lifelong fascination with birds and recurring representations of the character of Loplop (The Superior of Birds) who acted both as a muse and an instantiation of his own dual nature. Loplop lends his musical persona here in a suite of pieces interspersed throughout the program. Loplop’s Call is an invocation – it begins with a sly beckoning and gradually becomes more insistent refusing to be ignored. Die Windsbraut (The Bride of the Wind) is the woman who often accompanies Loplop in many images such as the one on the cover of the CD. Maurer introduces her with a questioning figure which Rodenkirchen picks up as a dance and after an alternately spritely and somber interlude, they conclude with the dance in unison. Ernst said that the Dadaist movement, of which he was an early member, was the only rational response to the insanity of war. Art was the only mechanism for forgetting (Pour oublier) the horrors of the conflict that he experienced as a gunner in the first world war. Rodenkirchen´s short piece uses wounded echoes ending in a melancholy melody. Ernst also explored the duality of the real and spirit world in his collection of Kachina dolls – Pueblo dolls who represent hidden spirits. The spirits here in Maurer’s composition are gamboling and playful, expressive and thoughtful, parallel to the Kachina concept of pantheism – the presence of life in all objects that fill the universe. Maurer has also applied a musical equivalent of Ernst’s technique of frottage to a Turkish folk song which he had previously played in an incarnation of the great vibraphonist Karl Berger’s ensemble. Ernst admired the grain in a textured wooden floor and used a frottage or rubbing to lift the texture which he incorporated into the background of some of his paintings. Maurer has extracted various of the underlying elements – pitches and rhythms – of the song to produce his composition Whatever Met My Ear. He and Rodenkirchen reprise the original in a haunting performance of the Turkish folk song Zeynebim.

The duality of the modern and the ancient. Although Maurer and Rodenkirchen are renowned interpreters of ancient music – Rodenkirchen through his celebrated work with Sequentia and Maurer on gothic fiddle through groups such as Ensemble Dialogos – they both have numerous collaborations with contemporary creative musicians around the world. Accordingly although both play their period instruments in addition to their modern ones, they have eschewed the older ambiance for a sound more in keeping with the rest of the early 20th century context they’ve drawn on for inspiration. Some of the interactions and figures are more reminiscent of Janacek and Kodaly than the ancient or modern contexts for which they’re best known. The duality of the composed and the improvised. Like the seasoned composers and improvisers that they are, Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen leave enough space in their pieces for spontaneous interaction. It all culminates in Peggy – the purely improvised performance that ends with the same flourish that introduced the opening call and unites the duality of their dialogue into a satisfying whole. — Nou Dadoun, Vancouver, September 2013

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop's Call | nemu recordsAlbrecht Maurer studied violin and viola at the Musikhochschule Koln. In addition, he pursued the study of non- European tonal Systems and computer music with Johannes Fritsch und Klarenz Barlow. In the 80s Albrecht Maurer mainly played jazz fusion on synthesizers, violin and voice, while studying classical music. In the early 90s he began to focus on expanding and reinventing the violin’s musical place: his works are characterized by sounds and loops, a broad timbrai spectrum, percussive imitations and grooves, ail in combination with the energy of jazz and a classical technique. In 2002 Maurer started to play medieval fiddle to get a feeling for the early history of string playing. In 2008 he started to add his voice as a sound-extension and concentrated on the viola.

He has worked with many jazz musicians including Kent Carter, Theo Jorgens-mann, Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri, Wolter Wierbos, Benoît Delbecq, Bobo Stenson, Norbert Stein, Klaus Kugel, Charlie Mariano, Karl Berger, Steve Arguelles, Barre Phillips, Caria Bley and Peter Jacquemyn. On medieval instruments he plays apart from his duo collaboration with Norbert Rodenkirchen – in the ensemble Dialogos, Paris, which is directed by Katarina Livljanic.

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop's Call | nemu recordsNorbert Rodenkirchen who studied flute and Baroque tra-verso at the Staatliche Musikhochschule Koln, has been the flute player of the internationally acclaimed ensemble Sequen-tia since 1996 and also works regularly with the French ensemble Dialogos directed by Katarina Livljanic, together with Albrecht Maurer. With both ensembles he has been invited to numerous international festivals. Since more than 20 years Norbert Rodenkirchen dedicates himself to the artistic dialogue between old and new sounds, between middle ages and today. In addition he has always been active as a composer and improviser of an experimental archaic music in the new music scene of Cologne. From 2003 to 2011 Norbert Rodenkirchen was artistic director of the concert series ,,Schnuetgen Konzerte – Musik des Mittel-alters” in the medieval museum of Cologne.

Additionally he has given workshops on medieval instrumental improvisation at the Mozarteum Salzburg, at the festivals of Vancouver and Ambronay as well as at the Musikhochschule Koln, the conservatories of Lyon and Liege. In 2012 he released his third own CD Hameln Anno 1284, Medieval flute music on the trail of the Pied Piper on the label Christophorus, notel.

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop's Call | nemu records


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One thought on “Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop’s Call | Nemu Records

  1. German and international music scene stalwarts, violinist Albrecht Maurer and flutist Norbert Rodenkirchen juxtapose the visual arts with music, focusing on German surrealist painter Max Ernst’s ideologies, poetry, and techniques duly noted in the album liners. Here, the duo casts a hybrid, folk, jazz, and classical muse while bringing a polytonal agenda to the forefront, and uncannily melding a sense of antiquity with a newfangled complexion. These aspects are partly attributed to Maurer’s use of a gothic fiddle that forges a pastoral musical climate.

    One of the many rewarding factors here pertains to the duo’s continual sense of vibrancy and disparate plot developments. They wade through menacing vistas, but also integrate numerous melodic hooks amid thorny unison breakouts and hearty improv excursions during extended bridge workouts. Maurer’s rustic sounding gothic fiddle adds a sense of nostalgia. As the musicians decompose and rebuild themes along with lavish sound-shaping maneuvers while sustaining an innate rhythmic vibe throughout.

    “Wall Ums Rot” is devised on Maurer’s droning fiddle lines and Rodenkirchen’s soul-searching flute phrasings, dappled with ominous overtones. However, the preponderance of this set is upbeat and highlights the musicians’ resourcefulness. On “Kachinas,” their whimsical improvisational escapades are rhythmically enhanced by Maurer’s string plucking and soaring staccato lines, conjoined with Rodenkirchen’s linear alto flute patterns, bearing an impassioned jazz-centric groove. They create tension, yet on other tracks the artists seamlessly fuse beauty, eloquence, and hard-hitting exchanges, largely framed on tuneful motifs. The final piece “Peggy,” is modeled with nimble string movements and Rodenkirchen’s pirouetting developments over the top. Overall, the duo’s glaring ingenuity and synergistic interplay, yields a full-blown artistic experience that offers a 360-degree value-add, streaming with qualitative output.

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