* Edition of 200 * A composition for two bass Renaissance flutes. Performed by Mara Winter and Johanna Bartz. Rise, follow is a dialogue of long tones played by two bass Renaissance flutes, featuring subtle but persistent changes over the duration of one hour. It is performed in one sitting without interruption. The composition adopts the principle of instrumental ‘consort-style’ playing in Europe during the 16th century: a family of similarly pitched and constructed instruments performing polyphonic music together in a small ensemble.
The transverse flute was often utilized in the Renaissance era as a type of consort instrument, since it was appreciated for its two-and-a-half octave range, its ability to blend into a group of instruments, and especially for its uncanny similarity to the timbre of the human voice and the articulation of spoken languages. In Rise, follow, the ‘consort’ approach is distilled into a study of complex harmonic interaction between two nearly identical, historically conceived bass flutes. In the absence of stylistic polyphonic language typical of the 16th century, the resonance generated between the two instruments is prioritized as a dialect in itself. The piece is structured by evenly spaced arrival points on so-called “pure” intervals which occur at specific time indications, only leaving the methods of movement between these essential intervals open to interpretation by the performers.
While Rise, follow attempts to create a gradient atmosphere for the listener, veiled beneath the wash of sound lies the substantial undertaking of physical endurance by both performers. Johanna Bartz and Mara Winter cling to the sound of their instruments, quietly struggling beneath the weight of gigantic flutes, battling with fingers unintentionally locked in place, and occasionally singing notes as substitution for collapsing embouchures. All of these bodily limitations are at once incorporated into the performance of the piece, while simultaneously uplifting an overall sonic impression which is otherworldly. Rise, follow is not only a composition of harmonic contrasts and careful interaction of resonance, but it is also a demonstration of the vast difference between the performative affect which is perceived by the listener and what is lived internally by the performers and transmuted into the final veneer.
Mara Winter has pursued a unique specialization in the performance of early transverse flutes of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Her involvement in experimental, improvisational and electronic music genres has given her a captivating perspective on the interpretation of early western art music. On the other hand, her training as a historical flautist has provided a technical basis for her own compositions, which meditate on the myriad sound possibilities of period instruments set within the framework of contemporary space.
She directs her ensemble Phaedrus, co-directs the ensemble Moirai and is a member of Rumorum, all based in Basel, Switzerland. She has performed and recorded with internationally recognized early music ensembles including Ensemble Leones, Ensemble Peregrina, J.S. Bach-Stiftung, La Scintilla (Zurich Opera), Il Gusto Barocco, Les Passions de L’Ame, Capriccio Barockorchester, Pacific Musicworks and others.
Johanna Bartz is a teacher for the renaissance traverso at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and member of the ensemble El Gran Teatro del Mundo, as well as founder and artistic director of the renaissance ensemble astrophil & stella. She performs as a guest musician with groups such as Le Concert des Nations, Anima Eterna, Gli Incogniti, Sollazzo, Continuum et al. Johanna studied in Berlin, Brussels and Basel amongst others with Annette von Stackelberg, Christoph Huntgeburth, Barthold Kuijken, Anne Smith and Marc Hantaï.