Predatory Dances. Chamber Music by Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer.
Albert Schnelzer (b. 1972) studied composition at the Malmö University College of Music and at the Royal College of Music in London, where he also trained as a conductor. During the 21st century he has taken his place among the most widely noticed younger Swedish composers, and in 2004 he scored an international breakthrough when his Predatory Dances, commissioned by Radio France, was premiered at the Présence Festival in Paris. His listed works included orchestral compositions, concertos and a wide spectrum of chamber music, and he regularly receives commissions from eminent institutions and ensembles, both in Sweden and abroad.
Music creation, to Schnelzer, means looking for strong personal expression rather than striving to be “modernistically correct”. His music can be described as strongly physical. He himself distinguishes two basic elements in music history, namely dance and song. Instrumental music must also be singable, and his works are mostly “narrative” in character, shot through by a musical dramaturgy which is created through both energetic rhythm and expressive melody. Schnelzer has developed a serial rhythmicality whereby a basic pulse can be established in the dances which is all the time shifting and varied through changes of time signature “pulling the carpet from under the listeners”. The often painfully elegiac character of his melody is created partly by his using types of scale harking back to Klezmer or Balkan music.
“The melodies can have their own drama,” Schnelzer has said. The oldest work on this record, Solitude for solo cello, written in 1999, takes as its starting point the idea of depicting how a melody is born, developing from an embryonic state to individual entity. Dance with the Devil, composed in 2000, is the first of Schnelzer’s many works having dance as their inspiration – a virtuoso piano work exploiting the full tonal range and tone-colour potential of the instrument, “a cross between Franz Liszt and Iron Maiden,” as the composer aptly puts it. The nature-loving, lyrical side of Schnelzer’s aesthetic is manifested in Frozen Landscape for cello and piano, written in 2002. Even if one did not know its title, this music would be sure to conjure forth the atmosphere of a wintry, snow-bright landscape in which the acoustic is subdued and discreet acoustic events appear like accents in the stillness.