Monologue Op.13 for arpeggione by Kris Oelbrandt (2001-02)
While the arpeggione instrument has been remembered thanks to the Schubert Sonata written for it in 1824, it has not received much attention between the 1830es and the 1970es. In this period of time, it seems that nobody composed for this bowed-guitar, nobody played the instrument, and very little attention was given in the musicological field. However, in the 1970es, performers such as Alfred Lessing and Klaus Storck began to rediscover the instrument and to perform the Schubert sonata on it. Musicological articles emerged and less than twenty years later Steve Tilston (UK folk guitar scene), who had made built an arpeggione, recorded "Swans at Coole", an album (1990) featuring the instrument arpeggione. Approximately at the same time Jonathan Wilson (USA) began to use an electric arpeggione and to build own designed arpeggiones, which he called GuitarViol. The 21st century has seen an even faster growth in the interest and spreading of the arpeggione. In 2000, Gerhard Darmstadt published an important article about the arpeggione and Alfred Lessing released his own CD recording of the Schubert Sonata. Darmstadt's recording followed in 2005, and Nicolas Deletaille recording (with Paul Badura-Skoda) was published in 2007. Other performers began to play the arpeggione in various countries (Christophe Coin and Amélie Chemin (F), Peter Yates (USA), Lars Baunkilde (DK), Markus Kuikka (FL), Hetti Price (UK), Osamu Okumura (J), and others).
Nicolas Deletaille has been interested since 2001 to commission music for arpeggione in order to broader the instrument's literature, which had consisted only in the Schubert Sonata. As of today (2012), there are approximately 50 original compositions for arpeggione and this number grows with time (see the wikipedia page "List of compositions for arpeggione") .
"Monologue" for solo arpeggione by Kris Oelbrandt was the first commission Nicolas Deletaille made to a composer (June 2001). The score was delivered in January 2002 and premiered in New York in May 2002. The composer had to write the piece before being able to hear Deletaille's arpeggione, since the building of the instrument was finished only on Christmas 2001, a few weeks before the composition was finalized.
It explores the full range of the instrument, beginning from the highest note and finishing on the lowest. It also explores the dynamic range as well as effects such as "sul ponticello, tremolo, pizzicato, con vibrato, melodic double-stops, etc.
The character of the music is haunting and solitary. It serves well the personality of the arpeggione, demonstrating slow pure lines with sometimes quick ornaments in the higher register and vibrating warm sound in the medium and the bass.
The title "Monologue" can be understood as a kind of meditation or prayer; the composer was already reflecting upon the option of entering as a monk in an Cistercian abbey, which he did a few months later. After ten years of maturation and concert performances, the recording of this piece as well as the editing process was made by the dedicatee in presence and collaboration of the composer in the inspiring Chapel of the Abbey Maria Toelvlucht in Zundert (the Netherlands).
About the composer Kris Oelbrandt: After basic studies in piano, violin and viola, Kris Oelbrandt graduated from the Royal Conservatory in Brussels in composition with Rafaël D’Haene. Over a number of years of orientation he began university studies in musicology (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), then mathematics and computer science (RUCA, University of Antwerp), as well as piano with Jan Michiels, finally studying composition with Luc Van Hove. In 2001 he graduated in composition (cum laude) from the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium College of Music. Besides his lessons with D’Haene and Van Hove, he has also studied with Willem Kersters and André Laporte. In 2001 he attended masterclasses with Pierre Bartholomée and Frédéric van Rossum.
Only his opus 4, Movements for symphony orchestra has yet to be performed, since the bulk of Oelbrandt’s works written since 2000 have been commissions, all but ensuring their performances. His compositions have been performed by such artists as Nicolas Deletaille, ensemble Musiques Nouvelles and the Gaggini String Quartet. His piano trio Résonances was awarded the Dan Decadt first prize at the 2000 Muizelhuis concerts.
On 15 May 2002, Kris Oelbrandt entered the strict Cistercian abbey of Maria Toevlucht in Zundert (the Netherlands) where he continues to work since 2007 as composer.
2010 he wins the XI. Weimarer Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik 2010 with his work Concert Rhapsody (2000) for violin and orchestra.
All his works are printed by CEBEDEM
About the arpeggione player Nicolas Deletaille: After receiving his musical education in Belgium and the U.S., Nicolas Deletaille began his professional career as a performing artist. Since this time, he has recorded Bach’s six cello suites, Beethoven’s five cello sonatas, Liszt late works for cello and piano, and major works from the solo repertory by Kodály, Cassadó, Ysaÿe, and Ligeti. He has recorded numerous chamber works with the Mendelssohn Ensemble, the Rosamonde String Quartet, and Paul Badura-Skoda. He has earned distinction as an arpeggione player by recording Schubert’s arpeggione sonata for the Fuga Libera record label. He has given approximately 70 world premieres, many of which were of works composed for him. Among these are several new compositions for arpeggione, representing his effort to enhance the arpeggione repertoire. For the last four years Nicolas Deletaille has been cello instructor at the Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta. He is now living in Belgium. More info at: www.nicolasdeletaille.com
See also the wikipedia List of compositions for arpeggione: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_for_arpeggione
A propos de l'arpeggioniste Nicolas Deletaille: Issu de la Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth de Belgique et de la Juilliard School à New York, Nicolas Deletaille se produit actuellement sur les scènes européennes, tant en qualité de soliste que de chambriste.
Sa discographie comprend l'intégrale des six suites pour violoncelle seul de Bach et des cinq sonates pour violoncelle et piano de Beethoven, ainsi que diverses oeuvres majeures du répertoire pour violoncelle seul (Kodály, Ysaÿe, Ligeti, Cassadó) et de musique de chambre (Schubert, Dvorák, Franck, Liszt, Tchaikovsky...).
Parallèlement à son activité de violoncelliste, Nicolas Deletaille s'est également fait connaître comme « arpeggioniste » en interprétant dans la version originale la célèbre « Sonate Arpeggione » de Schubert, qu'il a par ailleurs enregistrée pour Fuga Libera en compagnie du maître viennois Paul Badura-Skoda.
Dans le domaine de la musique contemporaine, Nicolas Deletaille a donné une septantaine de créations mondiales d'oeuvres écrites le plus souvent à son intention. Il a également suscité de nombreuses nouvelles oeuvres pour l'arpeggione. Plus d'infos: http://www.nicolasdeletaille.com
A propos du compositeur Kris Oelbrandt: Kris Oelbrandt (°1972) étudia aux conservatoires de Antwerpen, de Bruxelles ( R.D’Haene) et à la Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth avec Luc Van Hove. Il suivit aussi des cours chez W. Kesters et A. Laporte et des masterclasses chez P. Bartoholomée et Fr. van Rossum. Ses œuvres furent jouées par Viviane et Jenny Spanoghe, Jan van landeghem, Luc Devos, le Quartet Landini, Nicolas Deletaille et l’Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles. En 2010 il fut lauréat du Weimarer Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik avec son concerto pour violon Concert Rhapsody.
En 2002 Kris Oelbrandt entra au monastère trappiste de Maria Toevlucht de Zundert (NL). Il étudia la théologie à la KULeuven où il présenta un mémoire sur les bases théologiques de la musique d’Olivier Messiaen. Actuellement il se consacre à l’intégration de sa vie de moine à ses activités de compositeur.