Concert Imaginaire: Fortune’s Wheel

We are proud to announce the first album on Sublunar with Concert Imaginaire: Fortune’s Wheel.

Concert Imaginaire is an acoustic-electric chamber ensemble with a unique and varied musical palette. The core ensemble is Becca Baggenstoss, percussion, Ruthie Dornfeld, violin, Evan Robertson, bass, Lewis Thompson, piano, and David Hahn, guitar / music director and composer. Read more about them here.

The album’s content, according to David Hahn:

“From the Middle Ages comes the iconic figure of Lady Fortune standing beside her wheel which she slowly turns, blind-folded, affecting without prejudice the fortunes of both kings and paupers. Her wheel is a focal point for this album of diverse and strange music.

“IntrOverture” is an “introverted” overture — a quality which bucks that of the genre. The piece introduces all five instrumentalists and provides via digital voices a guide to non-French speakers on the pronunciation of “Concert Imaginaire.”

“Fortune’s Wheel” is Lady Fortune’s wordless song which she sings as she slowly turns the large wheel, affecting everyone’s fate with a single move. As fortunes change, twist and turn, she stands blind-folded, unconcerned.

“Fuse!” begins with a driving ostinato bass line over which an angular melody is played. In the second half of the piece, the medieval process of rhythmic augmentation is used: all the instruments play the same melody but twice as slowly, then twice as slowly again. The piece gradually slows and dissipates as the players unravel a gradually slowing canon.

Emily Dickinson’s singular image of a sunset, linked to the carnage of the Civil War, is astonishing. In this sotto voce setting of “The Massacre of Suns”, the words guide the music. Supporting the singer is a sustained synth chord and bottle percussion.

Written for the seminal 1990s Northwest band Animal Sperm, our track “I Hate Being White!”, a song that is neither racist nor about wanting to be like Michael Jordan… or Michael Jackson. All the lines rhyme!

“Always Thinking of Myself” has a jazz influenced head, which seamlessly progresses into a free improvisation. During rehearsal, one player remarked: “I tried not to listen to anyone else and think only of myself!”

“Like you thought…” is a rant which gradually increases in dynamic and intensity.

Both “World Circus News”— a circus waltz — and “Bosna” were composed in the late 1990s and relate to the wars of succession in the former Yugoslavia. By its stalling and muddying the waters, some powerful media outlets abetted the violence and bloodshed. “Bosna” (Bosnia) is a poem by Gordana Crnković focusing on a young victim of the first genocide Europe has seen since World War II. The boy at the end, recorded in 1995 in Zagreb, reads a quote based on verses from the Koran.

“Bishop” is an improvisatory piece based on a simple chord progression and fragments of a melody, and inspired by the chess piece.

I had been thinking about “There’s Only One Thing” for several years. The words were written in 1947, a few days before German author and soldier Wolfgang Borchert died at the age of twenty-six. This, his final poem, was written in the white heat of resentment of war and our complicity with the crime of war. This is a symphony of anti-war sentiment that comes from someone who experienced Hitler and the Russian front.

The Native American inspired Prayer Circle helps calm the mind after the turmoil of the previous piece.

Whatever a “prepuce” is, “Do The Prepuce!” certainly does it! Arising from the dream of a snoring dog is a fiendishly active ostinato figure topped by a scary dissonant melody. The second half is a turgid 10/4 dance with a rocking organ solo finishing it off.”

Stream the album here, on Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Apple Music etc. It is available for download here, from iTunes and on Bandcamp.

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