An encounter of the unusual kind was offered on November 12th, 2010 by Sinfonietta Essenbach (a.k.a. Orchester des 13. Tons, conducted by Prof. Ulf Klausenitzer) and the progressive Death Metal band Noneuclid of the Bavarian-Dutch composer Florian Magnus Maier.
In addition to the “Rheinische” Symphony by Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”-Overture and the final Death Metal set by Noneuclid, both the worlds of classical music and death metal, the music of Richard Wagner as well as Maier’s contemporary compositions, were presented in a double-headed interpretation. Classical orchestra and metal band dared enter the world of the other and met in works created especially for that night, crossing boundaries between styles that only seem to be mutually exclusive.
This new connection was born from the vast experience, dedication and knowledge which moved both Maier and Klausenitzer to collaborate, as well as from the need to offer new perspectives to the clichés and prejudice found in both genres. This encounter is unique in this form: the band Noneuclid tackled two of Wagner’s compositions, while Sinfonietta Essenbach interpreted one of Noneuclid’s death metal songs, and instead of a superficial potpourri of styles the artists strove to reach the musical essence inside this seemingly “alien” material when they met in the evening’s culmination, Maier’s “Altair Passage”, a new work scored for both ensembles together, commissioned and especially composed for this evening. The two groups shared the ambition to translate both symphonic music and death metal into the language of the other, searching for innovation on the discovered common territory, and want to prove that music is not limited to borders between styles, ages of target audiences.
The protagonists know what they are talking about:
Prof. Klausenitzer has been part of the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth for over 30 years (as concert master and board member), founded and led the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra for many years, and, through countless collaborations with composers like (among others) Stockhausen is intimately familiar with contemporary music. With his new orchestra, his ambition is to shed new light on classical traditions and find new ways to explore them.
Noneuclid, one of the few metal bands to employ true polyphony and genre-defying tonal and rhythmical complexity, performed contemporary classical music on metal instruments, among others with the renowned Dutch Metropole Orchestra (in Maier’s Death Metal Symphony “Black Vortex Cathedral”) and on The Hague-based contemporary music festival Dag in de Branding. Besides his long-running carreer as a metal musician, Florian Magnus Maier is one of the most prolific and successful young contemporary composers in the Netherlands, of which his steadily growing international profile is proof.
It has often been said that Richard Wagner’s music pioneered and anticipated the momentum and epic grandeur of late 20th-century music. Transition Metal was and is an ambitious collaboration in this very spirit – a pilot project with consequences.
Katharina Wagner – Director of the Wagner Festival, Bayreuth
Tom G. Warrior – living Metal legend and founder of highly influential bands Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Triptykon
Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch – Bavarian State Secretary for Science, Research and the Arts
The official Transition Metal website: