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Johannes Schmoelling

Songs No Words

- Studio, released 1995 -


CD release Germany 1995
Design: Thomas Kunadt


1.Nursery Rhyme 5:02
2.Gondola Song 4:32
3.Spinning Wheel 5:55
4.Jester's Nightwatch 5:43
5.Autumn Song 6:40
6.Huntsman's Song 3:37
7.Hymnus 8:29
8.Maypole Song 6:54
9.Funeral March 6:08
Total running time53:00


Recording date1992 - 1994
Recording site(s)Riet Studio (Berlin)
Composer(s)Johannes Schmoelling
Musician(s)Johannes Schmoelling, Jan Seliger
Producer(s)Johannes Schmoelling


Five years after his previous studio album, White Out, a new solo release by Johannes Schmoelling was finally published in 1995. Recorded between 1992 and 1994 the album release was postponed due to the disease and death of Peter Wirths, long-time friend and producer of some of Johannes Schmoelling's music and radio plays.


For this reason, Johannes Schmoelling had to start efforts again to prepare the release of the CD. He had finished work on the music material already in 1992, and wherever Wirths tried to offer the recording, the companies answered something like: "Yes, very nice, but it does not fit into our repertoire." Finally, Johannes Schmoelling returned back to the Erdenklang label that had already published his debut album Wuivend Riet (1986) to release Songs No Words.


Johannes Schmoelling himself about this album: "Certain sections of the music in Songs No Words are meant to be a mixture of two music styles. The classical-romantic music of the 19th century and the popular electronic music of the present. Pieces such as Hymnus or Funeral March are examples of this. It is my attempt to combine traditional instruments such as the piano, the clarinet or string instrument, including traditional melodies and harmonies, with electronically generated sounds from synthesizers and samplers, and modern rhythms. This resulted in new stereophonic sounds. Virtual stereophonics produced by the electronic music are combined to the known and experienced stereophonics of traditional music (the so called, 'classical music'). In turn, the sound achieves more depth and scope, stereophonics and composition become equal partners during the production of music. The title of the CD Songs No Words, and the individual tracks, are based on the style from the piano album Lieder ohne Worte by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, published in 1834."


The CD starts with the children's song Nursery Rhyme, a plain and simply arranged ballad, composed after a telephone call from Johannes Schmoelling's son Jonas. Gondola Song is based on the Venetian Gondola Song by Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The 6/8 rhythm is also borrowed from him. The drums on this and two other tracks are played by Jan Seliger to "maintain a slow and steady rhythm", according to Schmoelling. Spinning Wheel, also from the piano album, is programmatically a series of short, opposing loops -- some kind of minimal music. Jester's Nightwatch is a different mix of the composition Galago that had been released on a Dutch music sampler prior to this album. The Autumn Song should promote a contemplative and peaceful mood and is based on a musical fragment that was composed for mountaineer Reinhold Messner's lectures and is followed by the Huntsman's Song. The idea behind the track Hymnus emerged after Johannes Schmoelling visited Jerusalem in 1991. The sound environment for the introduction was recorded directly on-site at the Wailing Wall. The Maypole Song is Schmoelling's interpretation of the dance around the maypole, realised musically with timbre and analog instruments from the eighties, and also accompanied by a touch of gamelan style of music from the Bali region. The album closes with the Funeral March that takes up and reprocesses themes from Hymnus.


1995: Erdenklang
CD: 50802
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