Enthusiastic Reviews for The Mad King

From printed newspaper critics to operaphile bloggers, reviews of the livestream premiere of The Mad King have been overwhelmingly positive:

“★★★★”

“Musicians as caged birds, how much more symbolic of corona times can it be?”

“The American-Dutch composer Brendan Faegre binds together Davies’ notes with various Handel fragments which he skillfully arranged for the New European Ensemble and instruments from the collection of the Utrecht Museum Speelklok. It’s beautiful how he lets the cuckoo and the nightingale from Handel’s Organ Concerto HWV 295 flutter back and forth between barrel organ and ensemble.”
– NRC

“★★★★★”

“The result is a realization of the Eight Songs that is comparatively far removed from the original and yet comes closer to it in the portrait of a confused spirit than any production that is limited to the music of Peter Maxwell Davies.”
– Bachtrack.com

“Stefano Simone Pintor develops a dramaturgy coherent in substance with the original work by Maxwell Davies, placing a “preshow” starring a petulant parrot who, speaking from a television screen, traces the fragmentary space-time coordinates on a plot of “musique concrète” composed for the occasion by Brendan Faegre. The sequel develops along the disorganized plot of the Eight Songs onto which Händelian episodes are grafted not so much to reference King George’s well-known love for the music of the “dear Saxon” but to refer to the spirit of those “stage props” evoked by Maxwell Davies to describe his work, delivered here in skewed and dissonant transcriptions by Faegre himself. The intention is not to fill the disconnected “memory gaps” but rather to amplify an existentialist attitude with a Beckettian flavor, suggesting a desire for solitude as a reaction to foreboding external threats.”
– Giornale Della Musica

“a bravura performance, and rather disturbing”
– Planet Hugill

“The Mad King is beautifully designed and the performance is excellent.”

“The musical universe was designed by composer Brendan Faegre. He clothes Davies’ Eight Songs with unearthly sounds from water bottles, homemade vegetable flutes and idiosyncratic arrangements of Handel fragments. Striking are the many short glissandi and the frantically tumbling motifs, which fit perfectly with Davies’ original.”
– Theaterkrant

“a visually opulent and musically robust production”
– O-Ton

“a delusional world with ghostly birds”
– Place de l’Opera

“Plenty of food for thought”

“This song cycle, which only lasts half an hour, was dressed up, decorated and enhanced with music by the American drummer and composer Brendan Faegre, who lives in the Netherlands. He creates complex bird noises and very simple sounds: whistling bottles of water, banging with sticks, hammers, hands and slippers…All in all, it creates a pleasant cacophony of sounds, produced by a baritone and only six musicians from the New European Ensemble.”
– De Groene Amsterdammer

 

To learn more, visit the Mad King project page.

World Premiere w/ Slagwerk Den Haag & Atelier van Lieshout

On 4 September, Slagwerk Den Haag and I will premiere Gods of Bird, my new 30-minute work for percussionists and live electronics.  It is performed entirely on Atelier van Lieshout’s Early Bird sculpture, with the concert taking place in the sculptor’s atelier in Rotterdam.

The percussionists play the role of three gods, descending from the heavens to help guide the four terribly lost Early Birds.  Each bird believes itself to be a solitary genius, forging ahead in its own direction while climbing the rusty corporate ladder of late-stage capitalism.  The birds are unaware of the fact that we are all welded together.

teaser for Gods of Bird

Spent these corona times writing a new 30min composition 'Gods of Bird' for 3 percussionists (Slagwerk Den Haag) + electronics (yours truly) to be performed on Atelier Van Lieshout's Early Bird sculpture. 4 September we're bringing it to life!! 🎉🎉🎉Would love to share the premiere with you, in Rotterdam at AVL Mundo: God Of Birds by Brendan Faegre & Slagwerk Den Haag

Posted by Brendan Faegre on Sunday, August 16, 2020

For more info see the project page here

A Manual Towards the Truth Press and Video

Press reviews and a live video of our new multidisciplinary music theater piece A Manual Towards the Truth are now online. This work is inspired by the destruction of truth in the social media environment, and the moral dilemmas created by the newly required job of Content Moderator.

“★★★★…gripping” – NRC

With tons of energy they tell two stories together while singing and speaking…a mental assault” – Theaterkrant

The design of this performance is sleek and streamlined with an eye for detail…the singing is crystal clear…perfectly performed in the audiovisual field” – Klankgat

New Silent Film Soundtrack for ‘Sunrise’

With the Edge Ensemble, we will premiere our new soundtrack to F.W. Murnau’s silent film Sunrise at the EYE Film Museum and the Sounds of Silence festival.

We divided the film into 6 acts, where each act has one unique emotion that grows or fades in intensity as the act progresses.  This sequence of emotional intensities serves as the score on which we improvise the soundtrack.

More details on the project page here

Switched Bach Video

With baroque violinist Lucia Giraudo, we have just released our first track as switched, a new project channeling baroque dance music through a contemporary prism.  Lucia takes a historical approach to the violin part. I add drums, making the meter of the dances explicit. And through processing and a monosynth, we bring baroque dance into the soundworld of electronic music.

Here’s our take on the Allemanda double from J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 1 in B minor.

For high-quality audio, download the track via Bandcamp:

SPR!TZL Award from Silbersee

A new music theater installation collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Robin Coops and percussionist Jonathan Bonny was selected for Silbersee’s SPR!TZL program. The program awards a budget of € 15,000, coaching by the Silbersee team, and a final performance in July 2019 at the Muziekgebouw aan het IJ in Amsterdam.

Our project will be based around the horrific experiences of Facebook content moderators and the gradual self-destruction of truth in the social media environment.  A central theme will be transforming the digital into the physical, on musical, visual, conceptual, and social levels.  Stay tuned for more info..

Edge Ensemble Selected for Classical:NEXT Showcase

The Edge Ensemble’s new production The Wind was selected for the 2018 Classical:NEXT Showcase. After the excellent experience performing at the Club Showcase last year with Bow Hammer Connection, I’m looking forward to presenting a larger project at “the most viable international gathering place for open-minded music-focused people.” (Frank J. Oteri, New Music USA) Other showcase artists this year include Roomful of Teeth, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Molly Joyce.

For performance dates and more info go to Events

Analog Intelligence with Pacific Symphony’s Youth Orchestra

This March I will join the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (led by Roger Kalia) to premiere my new work Analog Intelligence, an orchestral reworking of ‘Dubstep’, ‘IDM’, and ‘Drum ‘n’ Bass’ from my Dance Suite in G. Their principal percussionist and I will be downstage, far-right and far-left, to give a more ‘close-miked’ sound and to play with some stereo echo effects.

For performance dates and more info go to Events

Bow Hammer Connection after-movie

Classical:NEXT has put together an after-movie of our performance of Dance Suite in G at BIRD, as part of their Club Showcase last May. Dance Suite & Fog Machine, united at last!  Here’s the video:

Let`s dance down memory lane with Bow Hammer Connection, performing Brendan Faegre’s Dance Suite in G inspired by drum’n’bass, acid house and dubstep at Classical:NEXT 2017!

Posted by Classical:NEXT on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Auke de Vries, Carillon, and Rooftop Percussion

As part of an exhibition celebrating Dutch sculptor Auke de Vries’s 80th birthday, Slagwerk Den Haag asked me to compose a new work based on one of Auke’s concepts: a conversation between the bells of a carillon and elevated percussionists.  The percussionists surround the carillon on balconies, rooftops, and in the street, showering the city with their sounds from 30 meters above. From the Asphalt to the Spires will premiere next month with SDH and The Hague’s virtuosic carillonneur Gijsbert Kok.

For performance dates and more info go to Events

Five World Premieres with the Edge Ensemble

This May the Edge Ensemble will premiere five freshly commissioned works inspired by games and human play. The new pieces from Genevieve Murphy, Ethan Braun, Christopher Fox, Harry Stafylakis, and me each showcase five deeply personal interpretations. From the financial games of Goldman Sachs, to a composer joining us on stage playing bagpipes, this program expresses the diversity and profundity of play in the human experience. Here are two composer interviews below, and you can watch the rest on the Edge Ensemble Facebook page.

Genevieve Murphy in conversation

Conversing with Genevieve Clare Georgina Florence Murphy about her new piece 'Violent push of an unpredictable strategy' for Edge + Genevieve on bagpipestopics include: bagpipes, working with timbre through experiencing it, trying to win

Posted by Edge Ensemble on Monday, May 15, 2017

Ethan Braun in conversation

Chatting w/ Ethan Braun about his new piece for us, 'Degrees of Silence'topics include: working with improvisers from different backgrounds, tension & release, giving students Fs out of spite

Posted by Edge Ensemble on Thursday, May 11, 2017

For performance dates and more info go to Events

 

Music For Bars On Tour

In collaboration with Slagwerk Den Haag and Club Guy & Roni’s Poetic Disasters Club, Music For Bars begins a 10-bar tour around the Netherlands this Autumn. The production is a 60-minute amplification of sonic, physical, and social elements of The Bar. It combines composed, improvised, and curated works for 3 percussionists, 3 dancers, and a backing track, all of whom explore and break the boundaries of “normal”.

For performance dates and more info go to Events