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Electric Planets
arr.: Manfred Knaak, based on the famous Planets Suite by Gustav Holst

ensemble KONTRASTE electric band Günter Voit electronic wind instrument Josef Müksch guitars Alex Bayer bass Gernot Nutzenberger violoncello Radoslaw Szarek drums Stefan Danhof keyboards


amb 96973
EAN 4011392969734

Manfred Knaak (*1960): Electric Planets
1. Mars, the Bringer of War
2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace
3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger
4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
6. Uranus, the Magician
7. Neptune, the Mystic

Manfred Knaak’s version of The Planets presented here was created in 2017 and commissioned by the Nicolaus Copernicus Planetarium in Nuremberg and the ensemble KONTRASTE. The name ”ensemble KONTRASTE electric band” is a reference to the famous ”electric bands” of the 1980s, such as the ”Chick Corea Electric Band”, harkening back to a time when ever more musicians were discovering the increasing creative possibilities of synthesised sound generation. As with Chick Corea, the band is made up of a combination of traditional classical, electronically amplified and computer-assisted instruments (EWI = Electronic Wind Instrument, electric guitar, electric bass, cello, keyboards and drums).

The starting point for Manfred Knaak’s adaptation of Holst’s Planets was, on the one hand, a ”new translation” of the original version for two pianos. The idea was to develop a language that was indebted in every aspect to the contents of the original, while satisfying the special requirements of an electric band. At the same time, the aim was for the manifold possibilities of the electric band and the combination of classical and modern instruments to reflect the numerical and tonal opulence of the orchestral version. Associations play a central role in Holst’s work. Clearly, the composer let himself be guided by the titles of the individual movements, both on a structural/formal level and in his treatment of sound, and succeeded in describing with musical means the astrological and mythological images and stories that arose from his imagination. The outlining of this narrative is at the centre of the arrangement Electric Planets. This reworking follows four fundamental procedures:
The direct reproduction of Holst’s score for the electric band, the improvisation, the generous use of electronic programming, with all of its unique possibilities, and last but not least, The Planets are sometimes given entirely ”new clothes”.

Electric Planets can be seen as an adaptation of Gustav Holst’s famous work in a very particular idiom, influenced by the crossover between classical and modern electronic music, together with elements of impressionism and jazz.