In 2002 Misha Mengelberg was invited for the second time to the AngelicA Festival in Bologna. That edition, the twelfth, took part entirely in a squatted social centre of the city, and, in collaboration with Tristan Honsinger, was conceived as one large opera lasting six days – an opera within which the performances of many national and international artists fitted in like individual mobile “modules”.
Especially for this occasion and on the festival director’s suggestion, who had attended a performance by the ICP Orchestra in Amsterdam during which Mengelberg had unexpectedly stood up from the piano and started singing, on the evening of 17th may 2002 the musician entered the venue pushed on a mobile platform, from which he performed a very short programme of “Solo Songs” – at the end he acted as if he was falling asleep and was pushed back behind the scenes.
This burning set of approximately 15 minutes of “songs” –in the broadest sense of the term, as the highly original Dutch composer-improviser could conceive them - is the starting point of this CD, complemented by other previously unreleased live recordings of concerts held between 2002 and 2010 in the Netherlands, Ukraine and France, provided by the Mengelberg Foundation.
As the saxophonist Ab Baars, author of the liner notes, describes them: ‘The improvisations on this cd are everything: annoying, exciting, meaningless, brilliant, swinging, crazy, too long, too short, irritating, beautiful, moving. And light as a feather. They come and they go again. Without intention. They are. Without boast. Just as there are objects in a hotel room that you talk to in a friendly way, grumble or ignore and keep saying goodbye to over and over, like you do in life’.
Rituals of Transition is the second release that i dischi di angelica dedicates to the great Dutch musician and composer. The first was the self-titled Misha Mengelberg (AI 010), recorded during the 1996 edition of the festival, which features a solo concert and, for the first time on a record, two compositions for symphonic orchestra by Mengelberg. The world premiere concert by Asko Ensemble and The Instant Composers Pool from the 2007 edition of the festival was, instead, released as part of the collection of 52 CDs Instant Composers Pool (ICP 1275-1).