Summer in Salzburg, that is mainly festival time. And the Salzburg Festival is nothing without the spectacle of the death of the rich man on the cathedral square, written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, the ORF produced the project “Jedermann Remixed” under the direction of Hannes Rossacher, and Hans Theessink provided the impressive soundtrack.
Together with the Salzburg Festival, the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) produced a film on the occasion of the 90 year success story of the annual play “Jedermann” (Everyman) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal as part of the Salzburg Festival. The initiators of the project wanted to investigate the phenomenon surrounding the play about the dying rich man in an unprecedented way.
It is a time travel through 90 years, which the TV director Hannes Rossacher realized by reassembling the complete piece from various fragments of archival holdings from the last nine decades alone.
The aim was to provide an insight into the different epochs and, as an expression of this, into the sometimes completely different forms of play and completely different productions, which, according to Martin Traxl, Head of Culture at ORF, reflect the zeitgeist of the respective era.
At this point I admit openly that I have never really known how to get started with Hofmannsthal’s play. In contrast to many other “classics” of German-language literature, including many other quite bulky calibres, which I almost devoured with pleasure, it was only due to the pressure of notes, which naturally prevailed as a student, that I actually read “Jedermann” to the last page.
Accordingly, my interest in this project of the ORF and the Salzburg Festival was naturally non-existent until, yes, until the discreet hint fell that no one less than Hans Theessink contributed the music for this film. So it was clear: obligatory appointment!
The film “Jederman remixed”, for which Hans Theessink provided an impressive soundtrack, promised a time travel through 90 years.
And you may forgive me if I now claim that in my opinion you haven’t missed anything at all if you haven’t seen this film. “Everyman” doesn’t get any more exciting when Buhlschaft follows Buhlschaft, Everyman follows Everyman, and the call of death, which is at least for my feeling not so bloodcurdlingly staged, who knows which original production will be heard. So whoever hasn’t seen it, nothing escapes him. Because the really important thing can already be purchased anyway. Namely the soundtrack of the movie, which actually can exist wonderfully without it.
Was it a coincidence that of all people, the Austrian Theessink, with his Dutch roots, realized the music for this project? – Probably! Because the origins of “Jedermann” go back to the Dutch work “Elckerlijc” from the 15th century, which in turn was the source for the English piece “Everyman – a morality play” from the 16th century, and served Hugo von Hofmannsthal as a model for its realisation. It goes without saying that Hans Theessink therefore oriented himself to the theme of the piece when compiling the soundtrack. And also the mostly rather depressed mood of the titles is due to the occasion. But still, that everything works brilliantly without the reference to “Jedermann” and results in a wonderfully coherent album, which fits seamlessly into the previous work of Hans Theessink.
For this album Theessink chose some of his own pieces, some of which you could already hear on other recordings of the artist, as well as some traditionals. Most of them are cover versions, but Thessink is approaching some real greats. Works from Tom Waits, Hank Williams, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash to the Rolling Stones are found on this album, but – as not to be expected otherwise – they were perfectly realized. Hans Theessink is blessed with this special feeling to use works of other artists to give them his very personal stamp, while keeping the size and the original character.
Theessink deliberately created very reduced arrangements. To support the images of the film, the music should only consist of the absolutely necessary, sometimes, according to Theessink, just a singing voice and a guitar. But even here, if you don’t know why this is so, you will still love it, because the incredibly dense atmosphere created by this compression is simply fascinating and captivating.
Hans Theesink gathered a small group of excellent musicians around him for these recordings, which took place partly in Denmark and partly in Austria, and the sound quality can once again be described as absolutely perfect. This also applies to the mastering, for which Thomas Löffler is responsible.
Especially impressive is the cover of the recording, which features a work by Peter Pongratz.
Getting to the point
No matter if you are fascinated by the play “Jedermann” or if you are just bored like me, the recordings of Hans Theessink to “Jedermann Remixed” will probably inspire you in any case. With these 18 pieces, their arrangements reduced to the essentials and thus an incredibly dense atmosphere, Hans Theessink once again enchants the listener and makes sure that you inevitably start playing again after the last chord of the album has faded away. And again, and again… With the record, which is of course also available, you just have to turn it over occasionally!
|Composer:||Hans Theessink, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Bo Diddley, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Joe South, Ellas McDaniel, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards|
|Genre:||Blues, Gospel, Roots|
|Format:||CD, Download, Vinyl|