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Franui and Boesch unpretentious #HF17

Some 25 years ago, 10 musicians got together in Innervillgraten. A hamlet in East Tyrol, to play funeral marches. A band formed: Franui. Creating quirky arrangements of music such as by Schubert and Mahler, Franui gained international success. At the 2017 Holland Festival, they will perform a programme of music about life and impermanence. In collaboration with baritone Florian Boesch and Swedish video artist Jonas Dahlberg, they present Alles wieder gut.

Franui was founded in 1993 by trumpeter and composer Andreas Schett. Together with Markus Kraler, they form the musical leadership of this contemporary wind ensemble. Their music is an amalgamation of peasant culture music, classical music and jazz.

In a carpentry workshop in Innervillgraten it all started. Andreas Schett: 'We started without a plan. We all asked people to join us. Spontaneously, we then started playing folk music and funeral marches. We have always found this music interesting. Also because at that time it was the best music available. Music for special occasions.'

The wind ensemble, which incidentally also has three string instrumentalists, made the switch to classical music. The Deutsche Messe by Frans Schubert was arranged and other works from the (late) Romantic period such as Gustav Mahler.

Schett explains that Franui promotes a certain musical vision. 'We want to make music that is not just one-sided. Not music where you can only think: now I have to laugh or be sad.' In particular, Franui wants to free song art from the artificial. The raw, the unpolished in this music, he believes, should be given a place again.

Next year, you will celebrate your 25th anniversary. Your success created great interest in your village. Are the residents of Innervillgraten proud of you?

'Not all of them. When we started, we organised a music festival for six years that everyone came to. The place where we used to perform was set on fire at one point. Why and by whom? It has to do with the fact that, at least 20 years ago, the village was not prepared for tourism.

Residents were struggling to cope with the new era. Everything authority had in 1996 was still exactly the same as in 1896. Suddenly, a completely different world entered the village and that brought a lot of change. The churches had always been full on Sundays. That then suddenly ended. We were held responsible for that by the older generation.'

During the song night Alles Wieder Gut Bass-baritone Florian Boesch sings such arranged songs as Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. And Schumann's Der arme Peter, Schubert's Abendstern and Brahms' Over the Heath.

Franui is unpretentious

Why did you ask Florian Boesch?

'Florian Boesch indeed has a somewhat subdued way of singing. He is not a song singer of: turn the music around and then sing on. Florian enjoys doing things differently. He also gets a lot of freedom from us.' Of a song like 'Über die Heide' by Brahms, Boesch uses the soprano version. Which he then sings at his height. 'Purists don't think this is possible, but it is very beautiful because it is unpretentious.'

Especially for Alles wieder gut did the Swedish visual artist Jonas Dahlberg made a video film. Which depicts the theme of impermanence and finitude. A large projection screen shows a bedroom in shades of black and white.

'When the audience enters, the video is already running. You see a bed, a pillow, a bedside table and a lamp. It is so archetypal that you immediately feel involved. Then you notice that the static image is wrong.'

According to Schett, this image about impermanence fits the music well. After all, impermanence also applies to life and love.

Alles wieder gut seems melancholic in nature. Is Franui also melancholic?

'I'd rather not hear that. We don't want to be pushed into a corner. Even sad music can have something cheerful about it. Our music has two stages: the cemetery and the dance floor. Because if you play a funeral march fast, then you have a polka.'

Good to know

Alles wieder gut by Franui, Florian Boesch (baritone) and video art Jonas Dahlberg. To be seen on 21 June. Muziekgebouw aan t IJ, starting at 20:30.

Rudolf Hunnik

Rudolf Hunnik is a cultural journalist, trainer and film programmer. For more information visit www.diversityathome.nlView Author posts

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