Originating as a sexy South American dance, the chaconne crossed the Atlantic to sixteenth-century Spain, where it acquired a reputation as a dangerous pleasure. Constructed on repeating ground basses, the form’s sinuous flexibility articulated two facets of the modernist urge to self-expression: the boisterous delights of turning the world upside down and the sweet sadness of melancholy introspection.
From the Ground Up: The Chaconne explores the history of the chaconne in Spain and Italy, and its acceptance into high musical culture. In England, it became a chief inspiration for Purcell, while in Germany it triggered the sublime achievement of Bach’s ‘Ciaccona’ from the Partita in D minor for Solo Violin. Also springing from this fertile soil are works by contemporary composers Johannes Marmén and Dušan Bogdanović, and three sets of improvisations – ‘Ground’, ‘Breath’, ‘Being’ – based on themes from Purcell. These include the elemental art of overtone singing, performed by Gareth Lubbe, who studied with the Tuvan people of Siberia. Returning to the chaconne’s Renaissance roots, readings from Shakespeare by actor Sam West inspire extempore reflections by beat poet Baba Israel.
The album has been released on Signum Classics on 7 June 2019 and has been chosen as the Gramophone Concept Album Award winner 2020!
WATCH THE CLIPS (see also Media)
In an aim to reduce environmental impact, the album has been produced as sustainably as possible. For every disc sold O/Modernt donates to charitable tree initiatives in India, one of the most important forested areas in the world to protect. Forests sustain nature’s diversity, benefit our climate, and support human well-being. Additionally, spellbinding photographs by artist Serinyà and wildlife photographer Jose Pesquero are included in the booklet. The liner notes trace key motifs from Cervantes and Shakespeare through the album’s diverse tracks, whilst Hugo Ticciati’s introduction considers the importance of breathing as the ground of our being. The booklet also includes British Museum curator Irving Finkel’s reflections on the trumpets of Tutankhamun, heard in the twentieth century after an interval of three and a half thousand years.
O/Modernt and Hugo Ticciati's 'From the Ground Up' is a masterly, century-hopping exploration of the ground bass or chaconne done with terrific flair and imagination. — James Jolly, Editor-in-Chief, Gramophone
Borders evaporate and improvisation builds bridges between works, creating a sensation of hovering free in the air: like birds. — Svenska Dagbladet
Hugo Ticciati is blessed to be doing what he loves every day of his life – that is, making music. His old Italian violin takes him around the world to fantastic orchestras in gorgeous concert halls; it brings him together with the most inspiring artists to create music in beautiful festivals, and it sparks new creations from young composers. In his teaching Hugo explores ways to apply the physical and spiritual aspects of mindfulness to the art of practising, playing and living in music. One of the highlights of the past year was a two-week stay in an ashram at the foot of the Himalayas where he chanted every morning, meditated and swept the floors by day, and in the evenings sat crossed-legged by a fire, playing Bach to barefooted monks. His musical tastes have swung dramatically during the year from contemplative Indian ragas to the megalomaniac rock band Muse (played at high volumes) to the songs of Richard Strauss (played even louder). Hugo still lives in the blissful state of mobilephonelessness. His staple reading is the Bhagavad Gitabut he has recently been captivated by the work of the French philosopher Henri Bergson.
Mezzosoprano Luciana Mancini was born in Sweden but has Chilean roots. She received her bachelor degree in Classical Singing and Early Music Performance Practice from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland, where she subsequently joined the Opera Studio. In 2009 she received her Master’s degree, writing a thesis on Italian monodies of the 1600s. Luciana has sung under conductors including René Jacobs, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Enrico Onofri, Pablo Heras-Casado, Neeme Järvi and Juanjo Mena; she has also collaborated with numerous ensembles, notably L’Arpeggiata, La Fenice, Lautten Compagney, Divino Sospiro, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Ensemble Matthäus, and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, singing at venues including the Staatsoper Berlin, Theater an der Wien, Drottningholm Palace Theatre, Carnegie Hall, the Opera Comique and the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth. Luciana has worked with stage directors such as Benjamin Lazar, Sigrid T’Hooft, Pablo Maritano, Achim Freyer, and with the choreographer Sasha Waltz.
Baba Israel was raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre, exploring spoken word, hip hop, and experimental performance. Baba began his career as an arts educator in Australia, and is a leading educator and consultant with organisations including Urban Word, BAM, Dubspot and the University of Madison. He has also worked as a cultural ambassador with the US State Department, and is co-founder and Artistic Director of Playback NYC Theatre Company, bringing theatre to hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, theatres and festivals. He has toured across the US, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia. His debut album, Mind Music, was releasedon Velour records in 2001; this was followed by collaborative projects with Yako 440. From 2009–12 Baba was artistic director and CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester, creating flagship festivals, directing and producing touring productions, and focusing on innovative and diverse work. He is also a core member of the hip hop/soul project Soul Inscribed.
Born in London into a family of distinguished actors, Sam West studied English at Oxford and has since forged a career as an internationally acclaimed actor and director. Highly esteemed for the nuanced dramatic energy of his spoken-word recordings, he enjoys regular collaborations as a reader and narrator with musical ensembles the world over. On stage Sam has played Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company and won a Critics' Circle award for his RSC performance of Hamlet. His extensive television credits include W I A, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, and Cambridge Spies (all for the BBC) and four series of Mr Selfridge (ITV). For the BBC he has also narrated several documentaries. Among his many films are Darkest Hours, On Chesil Beach, Suffragette and Notting Hill, and he voiced Pongo in Disney's 101 Dalmatians II. His portrayal of Leonard Bast in Howards End won him a BAFTA nomination. Accompanying Walton's music for Henry V at the Last Night of the Proms, Sam performed speeches from Shakespeare's play. He has recorded over fifty audiobooks, receiving numerous awards for his work. A keen birdwatcher, Sam is an Associate Artist of the RSC and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts.
Johannes Marmén studied violin at Lilla Akademien, Stockholm, from 2006, winning a full scholarship in 2008 for the summer chamber music course Musica Mundi in Belgium, where he received coaching from Paul Badura-Skoda and members of the Talich quartet. In 2009 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London where he currently studies violin with Professor Berent Korfker. As a chamber musician Johannes has performed with pianists Bengt- Bengt-Åke Lundin, Benedicte Haid, and Johan Farjot. He is also a founding member of the Leonhard String Quartet. Johannes was concertmaster of the Lilla Akademien Symphony orchestras (2008–9) and concertmaster of the Swedish National Youth Symphony Orchestra from 2010, leading performances at Berwaldhallen, Chicago Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen (2010) and Tonu Kaljuste (2011–12). Prizes and awards include the Ingrid and Per Welin Scholarship from the Swedish Royal Academy of Music and the Kjerstin Dellert Confidencen Scholarship.
Gareth Lubbe is professor of viola at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. For several years he was Principal Violist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly, while teaching at the ‘Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’ Conservatory. Gareth appears as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, America, Africa and Asia. As an overtone singer, he performs and gives active lectures around the world, interpreting the phenomenon of multiphonic singing to demonstrate how everyone can realise the possibilities of sound production on their own natural inner instrument. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gareth received his first musical education on piano and violin at the age of four, and made youthful debuts as soloist and conductor. In 1994 he performed at the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela in Pretoria. After finishing school, he went to study in Germany but continues to nurture his love for the mother continent, performing and teaching there on a regular basis.
Julian Arp, born in 1981, studied at the Academy of Music ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin with Boris Pergamenschikow. He continued his studies with David Geringas and Eberhard Feltz. As a soloist and chamber musician Julian appears regularly at festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Beauvais, Montreux, SoNoRo Bucharest, Stellenbosch, Stift Festival, the Oxford Chamber Music Festival and IMS Prussia Cove. The Duo Arp/Frantz has released three CDs. In the words of Fono Forum: ‘They make music into pure celebration. It all sounds and sings.’ Contemporary composers, including Odeh-Tamimi, Koch, Nemtsov and Dinescu, have written pieces for Julian. He is a co-founder of the festival Zeitkunst which has been a guest at the Centre Pompidou, Radialsystem Berlin, Israel, England and Rio de Janeiro. Julian regularly gives master classes in Germany and abroad, and teaches at the University for Arts in Graz, Austria.
Jordi Carrasco Hjelm is a Swedish Double Bass player dedicating himself to chamber music and free improvisation. He lives in Amsterdam since 2013 and was a Bachelor student in the class of Olivier Thiery and Rick Stotijn at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and later finished his studies with a Masters degree in Cross-Over music making with jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis.He performs regularly as a member of the O/modernt Chamber Orchestra as well as the Swedish contemporary folk music band Garizim and as a regular extra player with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.Together with young musicians from all over Europe he is a founding member of the C/o Chamber Orchestra that combines orchestral playing with principles of non-hierarchical collaboration.In 2019 Jordi looks especially forward to participating in the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, playing bossa nova with Matthew Barley in London, retreating to the woods in Sweden to develop free improvisations with his duo partner violist and singer Yanna Pelser and the release of a new album with Garizim.Jordi has received the ”Per Welin Stipend” from the Swedish Royal Academy of Music, grants from Stockholm Free Mazons and the Lindeqvist Foundation, Byggnads Culture Grant and Kempe-Carlgrenska Fonden Stipend.
Born in Argentina, Cecilia Knudtsen began her music studies at the Conservatory C.L. Buchardo in Buenos Aires and the University of La Plata. She then moved to Switzerland, where she studied viola da gamba with Arianne Maurette and Roberto Gini at the Centre de musique ancienne de Genève, and violone with David Sinclair at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She performs with European ensembles including Chiome d’Oro, Harmonia Instrumentalis, Cappella Mediterranea and La Batalla, and has collaborated with Isabella d’Este, Lucidarium, Les Dominos, Fanfarre du Loup, Ensemble Concerto, Le Concert Brisé, Musica Fiorita and Elyma. Cecilia has recorded with the ensembles Chiome d’Oro, Concerto, Musica Fiorita, Isabella d’Este and La Batalla. She teaches viola da gamba, ensemble music and improvisation at the Conservatoire Populaire of Music, Dance and Theatre of Geneva, and the didactics of early music at the HEM of Geneva.
The American Record Guide called Italian guitarist Alberto Mesirica’s performance of Scarlatti ‘The best Scarlatti I’ve heard on solo guitar’, while Classical Guitar Magazinecommented: ‘Superb recording from the prodigiously talented Mesirca.’Born in 1984, Alberto at the Conservatory of Castelfranco Veneto, before moving on to the Music Academy of Kassel, Germany. He has won the Golden Guitar award three times: for Best Recording (2007, 2013), and for Best Upcoming Artist (2009). In collaboration with Hopkinson Smith and Franco Pavan, Alberto published previously unknown works by Francesco Da Milano preserved in the 1656 Castelfranco Veneto Manuscript (Editions Orphée). The rediscovery inspired Dušan Bogdanović to compose Tre Ricercari sulla Compagnafor Alberto, based on a theme of Da Milano. Other pieces composed for Alberto include a piece by Leo Brouwer, premiered at the 2013 Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. Working with a host of world-class soloists, Alberto has performed on concert stages across Europe, and North and South America; he has also collaborated with numerous renowned ensembles. Together with Marc Ribot, he recorded the complete guitar works of the Haitian composer Frantz Casséus.
Christoph Sommer was born in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany, and received his first musical education on the piano and the guitar. Passionate about early music, he soon developed a fascination for lute instruments and their repertoire. Past engagements include concerts with Ensemble Holland Baroque, Ensemble Elyma (G. Garrido), Dunedin Consort (John Butt), Cappella Mediterranea (Leonardo García Alarcón), the vocal ensembles Vox Luminis and Amacord; he has also worked with the Pera Ensemble, Ensemble Chiome d’Oro, the Konkinklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam (Jan Willem de Vriend), the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Paul Goodwin), Vienna Philharmonic (Emannuelle Haïm), Attaignant Consort (Kate Clark) and the Staatsorchester Hamburg (Alessandro di Marchi and Simon Hewett).
Karl Nyhlin, who was born in Umeå in northern Sweden in 1974, studied lute and continuo playing in Stockholm and Malmö. He was subsequently awarded several major scholarships, including a Fulbright Award that gave him the opportunity to travel to America where he studied with Nigel North at IU Bloomington, Indiana, graduating there in 2002. Today Karl is known as one of the leading lute players of his generation. Based in Stockholm, he works regularly with distinguished early music ensembles across Europe and has performed in over thirty-five countries on six continents. He also frequently performs at opera houses, including Drottningholm Palace and the Royal Opera in Stockholm, as well as Oslo and Vienna. Karl can be heard on numerous recordings as an ensemble musician, and he has released two critically acclaimed solo CDs,The Jacobean Lutenistsand Works for Lute by David Kellner and Silvius Leopald Weiss.
A virtuoso of three instruments, a composer of orchestral music and an improviser fluent in all musical languages, Svante Henryson moves boundlessly across the entire musical spectrum. As a cellist, performing jazz, world music or rock, he makes the cello sound as if it always belonged in these disparate sound worlds. Svante grew up in Umeå, playing in local jazz clubs as a bass player. As a double bassist, still in his teens, he became a member of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Then he enjoyed a three-year stint as a bass guitarist with rock guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen. As a composer, Svante’s work includes symphonic, choral, chamber and jazz, as well as several concerti for cello and electric bass. His Sonata for Solo Violin was awarded the Swedish prize for Chamber Music Work of the Year. Noted performers of his works include Anne-Sofie von Otter, Elvis Costello and Martin Fröst. As an improviser, Svante belongs in the highest echelons of modern Scandinavian jazz musicians. Awards include Jazz Musician of the Year in Sweden (2014), and the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize (2015).
Henrik Måwe, born in Sweden in 1981, is regarded as one of the foremost Swedish pianists of his generation. He studied with Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and with Staffan Scheja at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He has performed widely throughout Europe, as well as in South Africa and the USA. In the spring of 2008 he gave his debut recital in Stockholm and performed as a soloist with the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Henrik also appears regularly on TV, radio and other broadcast media. A passionate chamber musician, he has collaborated with some of Sweden’s foremost instrumentalists and singers, including the world-famous baritone Håkan Hagegård. Henrik has also branched out into jazz and improvisation, and has played recitals made up entirely of improvisation. In 2008 he was awarded Sweden’s most valuable and important scholarship for young musicians, the Rosenborg-Gehrmans scholarship.
Leandro Mancini is a Chilean drummer and percussionist who was born in Stockholm and is now based in London. Leandro studied music theory, piano and guitar from an early age, going on to study percussion with Ricardo Ruiz in Santiago de Chile. In 2009 he settled in the UK where he continued his studies in drum performance at the London Centre of Contemporary Music. Since 2010 he has toured the UK extensively with several bands and artists. Playing world music, jazz, art rock and pop, Leandro has performed at venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hackney Empire, Brighton Dome, Hampton Court Palace, Glasgow Royal Festival Hall and at music festivals, notably Glastonbury and the EFG London Jazz Festival. Between 2013 and 2015 he was privileged to be part of an operatic baroque play for children called Next Stop: Blue, produced and performed at the Luxembourg Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
Nora Thiele is highly regarded as one of the leading and most innovative exponents of frame drums and historical percussion. She is renowned for her irresistible sound, thrilling performance and empathetic teaching. Nora is a musician who moves fluidly between early music, world music, jazz and improvisation, performing a repertoire that encompasses traditional, experimental and classical music in equal measure. Her musical work is concerned above all with sounding out the intersections, boundaries and connections among genres, epochs and cultures. Resident in Berlin, Nora has given concerts in Europe, the Middle East and China, both as a soloist and with her collaborative projects: Duo Alkhayyat/Thiele (performing Iraqi Maqam), The Playfords (early music folk), Ensemble Nu:N (music of the Middle Ages and world jazz), Duo Zenker/Thiele (world jazz), Duo Sasoon/Thiele (female minimal jazz beat) and Simkhat Hanefesh (early Yiddish songs).
Elsa Bradley is a London-based percussionist, originating from Yorkshire. She graduated from King's College, London and the Royal College of Music with first-class degrees and has gone on to play in a variety of orchestral and chamber ensembles across the UK, Europe and North America. As an orchestral musician, Elsa has freelances in many of the UK's main orchestras including regular work with the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Royal Philharmonic, Opera North, City of London Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She frequently plays with period ensembles, including the Gabrieli Consort, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and medieval fusion band, Joglaresa, with whom she also plays the hammered dulcimer. In the contemporary music sphere, Elsa features regularly with Plus-Minus Ensemble and the Swiss group We Spoke, and she runs her own successful percussion collective, Abstruckt Ensemble, who often play in London and have featured on Radio 3 (Open Ear) as well as St David's Hall, Cardiff. Elsa also plays the cimbalom professionally, most notably with Le NEM (Montreal) and the London Sinfonietta at the BBC Proms.
My work is about the nonvisible. I am deeply influenced by the thoughts and ideas of fellow artist Joan Fontcuberta (Barcelona,1955) in relation to photography ́s nature. This is one of the reasons my attention has primarily centered on the characteristics of what remains invisible to the viewer. Concerned about the extraordinary power of what is not seen.. all type of concealed layers, hidden in plain sight, are the center of obsessive artistic exploration. In this complex hide-and-seek game, there is a transcendental moment. When a glitch, a hole, some kind of anomalyreveals a new reality, hidden right in front of the audience eyes. The resulting works arisequestions that revolve around perception, truth, mysteries, beliefs...and alsothe nature of photography itself.
Jose Pesquero took his first steps as a photographer when he started using SLR cameras to photograph landscapes, nature and wildlife. He discovered a passion for bird photography and birdwatching,and greatly enjoys learning from birds by closely studying their habits and behaviour. Capturing the intimate, joyful and special moments experienced by birds is always an exciting challenge. Most recently,he has been nurturing his passion by experimenting with macro photography, using extreme close-ups to take photos of miniature worlds.
St Stephen Walbrook Church 6.30pm
British Ambassador’s Residence 6pm
This disc is a rare pleasure. Music to feed both brain and soul — The Arts Desk
The album evokes a fascinating world where silence and the spaces between are just as important as the sound. And that is full of charged passages between Western and Indian. A breath that feels completely natural and organic. It is both bold and astonishingly natural.
Here it is the combination of material that matters, and I found the programme both seductive and thought-provoking.
“...the character came from the strings of O/Modernt... Every phrase had purpose and colour.
Ticciati’s extraordinarily vivid playing holds it all together expertly
Dazzling wide-ranging recital played with captivating sensitivity
The young vibrant entity that is Hugo Ticciati and his group O/Modernt surely represent something very positive about the potential future of classical musical performance. Evident joy and freshness for performing this stimulating programme carried all before it and both the new music they presented, as well as the more familiar, proved to be completely infectious.