pizzicato- Remy Franck`s Journal about Classical Music ( 13/02/2023) – A program « between dream immersion and joie de vivre from the multinational melting pot of baroque London » has been put together by recorder player Iris Lichtinger and lutenist Axel Wolf. The interpretations are colorful, fresh and transparent, but also very ‘classical’, that is, without any excesses in terms of tempo and dynamics. Lichtinger’s virtuosity never seems labored and is remarkable in all respects. I also very much like the richly ornamented playing of Axel Wolf. (Perfect Noise PN2205) – ♪♪♪♪
Recorder meets lute: Iris Lichtinger and Axel Wolf trace the sound of old London on the album "DREAMING AND WAKING" - in a historical setting.
Are you still dreaming - or are you already waking? The question was on his mind, this Samuel Pepys from London. He was a state secretary of the navy, a man of culture, a musician and a diarist. Back then, it was the 1660s, the plague was creeping over the island, and Pepys noted down what he only saw, heard, tasted, picked up. In the coffee house he began to philosophise with regulars about how the plague seemed to undermine the fabric of time: "What we do, do we do it just in dreams or in reality?" Perhaps Pepys also found comfort and answers with his thoughts on the strings of his lute. He mastered the instrument, decided to learn the recorder as well. A life with alert eyes and many notes - and this has now inspired a musical duo in Augsburg more than 350 years later.
Iris Lichtinger and Axel Wolf in Samuel Pepys' footsteps
When the pandemic, this time Corona, swept across the world, Iris Lichtinger and Axel Wolf once again joined forces. She: Augsburg recorder player, soprano, pianist and much more. He: expert on theorbo and lute, awarded the Echo Klassik. "For me, music is a means of communicating healing or comforting things," Lichtinger explains in the booklet to her duo album "Dreaming and Waking" (label: Perfect Noise). And she got the idea for the album while leafing through Pepys' plague diary: Baroque music, preferably from London, with flute, lute, theorbo.
The studio setting echoes delicately on the CD, along with its history: The duo has set up their microphones in the Felicitas Hall of the Maximilian Museum in Augsburg, under the cloudy sky of a Renaissance ceiling painting. The Godfry Finger's work opens the round with the poem "A Ground": What sounds like a summery plucked string ballad blossoms at its core with dancing fingerings of the flute. But then comes the calm, a ciaccone in which the bass strides in the same pattern and the flute paints and varies melodies on top.
The album "Dreaming and Waking" combines flute and lute.
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger's Toccata is the most beautiful example of baroque dreaming: Wolf plays it as delicately as he forgets time, like meditation and prayer. An example, on the other hand, of frantic waking states: in Solomon Eccle's full-steam miniature "Bellamira", the flute begins almost as if piqued by a tarantula, jagged and plunged right into life, with staccato, clear tonguing.
Lichtinger lets us hear how much life she can breathe into a recorder. The piece of wood does not leave much room for timbre, huge crescendos seem impossible - but the living breath counts all the more. First the flute sounds like a voice, soon like an organ pipe. And Axel Wolf's playing resonates with the fact that he is also a creative improviser on the saxophone. Free playing, fraternising baroque and jazz. AUGSBURGER ALLGEMEINE 4/2/2023 Veronika Lintner
"IN THE INTOXICATION OF SOUNDS. Outstanding: Steve Reich at the Textile Museum.
Music for 18 musicians opened the door to a musical language that is as dazzling as it is pulsating, which is not only immediately catchy, but also unfolds a pull that is otherwise only found among colleagues in pop and rock. A correspondingly large audience did not want to miss the rare experience of a live performance of "18", so that not only the matinee on Sunday was very well attended, but for the repeat performance in the evening even rows of extra chairs had to be brought in.(...) And then it started: for over an hour a beguilingly dense, intoxicating carpet of softly clashing and at the same time warmly flowing sounds, motorically driven forward by incessant throbbing and chattering. The rhythmic certainty of the instrumentalists, many of them young, was outstanding, the harmony of the layers laid over each other like glazes. (...)Strong applause at the end for an extraordinary, very successful undertaking, in the aftermath of which one can only encourage the initiators to one thing: More (such) music!" Augsburger Allgemeine 11 / 2016
BLUE - EVERYTHING FLOWS. Progetto `600
"BLUE GOLD....As a listener, one was amazed again and again at the floating, always seamlessly successful transitions. How sustainable the musical bridges proved, with which a remarkably joyful ensemble congenially carried the works of the 17th century over into the 20th century! (....) Captivating and touching at the same time were the tonal atmospheres conjured up this time by Iris Lichtinger as the singer, harmoniously supported by the strong sound of her professionally and experimentally acting musical partners Sebastian Hausl, Martin Franke and Edward King. No wonder that this great quartet was only released into the second "round" after an encore! " a3 Culture 8 / 2020
Dinner with the Fuggers. Iris Lichtinger & Axel Wolf
With changing colours, in charming dialogue, yet technically immensely adept, the two musicians created a sparkling programme. The casual elegance with which Wolf caressed rather than plucked his instruments, including a multi-stringed kink-necked lute, harmonised perfectly with the wild runs and breathed syncopations of the flute. Both knew how to handle the dance-like movements in a very playful, light-footed manner, letting lively dances follow melancholic flowing. In short: an immensely varied, very concentrated presentation of early baroque gems and thus truly a "feast for the ears" . AUGSBURGER ALLGEMEINE 3 / 2020
Aenigma et Stupor "Enigmatic and solidified" in concert with Iris Lichtinger and Stefan Blum
The concert program presented by Iris Lichtinger (recorder, voice) and Stefan Blum (percussion) in the "Utopia Toolbox" spanned almost 1,000 years of history. Both artists are internationally in demand, lecturers at the Leopold Mozart Center of the University of Augsburg and versatile: Iris Lichtinger is professionally active in both early and new music as well as a tango pianist, Stefan Blum from Munich is well known as a percussionist, composer and percussion teacher in contemporary music. Spirituality - in the context of the Luther Year - was the central theme of the program "Aenigma et Stupor". The works by composers of German-Indian, Israeli-Palestinian, Mexican, American and German origin reflect different approaches to faith, which ultimately lead to spiritual unity. Right at the beginning, Hildegard von Bingen's "O quam mirabilis," with Renaissance flute sounds reminiscent of Gregorian chant over monotonous gong beats, transported the audience to a distant world. In "Nirgun Bhajan" by the Indian composer and music researcher Sandeep Bhagwati, Lichtinger declaimed a text from the tradition of North Indian spiritual songs over an electronically played drone and seven colorfully mixed percussion instruments. The resulting seven tone levels defined the improvised melodies of both musicians and whirred through the hall as circling and twisting scales.Shattering "Li - Sabbrá" by Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi, recalling the 1982 massacre in the refugee camps of Sabbrá and Shattila in southern Beirut. Lichtinger and Blum articulated the sounds of war, the fearful cries of the children, the killing machinery in a frighteningly realistic, merciless tone. Afterwards, there was an affected silence in the room. It dissolved in medieval flair: Blum's Darbuka and Lichtinger's virtuoso soprano flute in the anonymously composed Estampien "Istanpitta In pro", "Lamento di Tristano" and "Ghaetta", taken from a Tuscan/Aumbrian manuscript. In contrast, the work "Ofrenda" by the Mexican composer Mario Lavista, a requiem, which Iris Lichtinger intoned sometimes with flute solo, sometimes fascinatingly in two voices with flute and her own voice, put the listeners under a mystical spell. One of the highlights of the evening was certainly Stefan Blum's "Moving Skin Pattern", an increasingly dense and dynamically growing modification of several patterns, which the composer presented on nine natural skin drums. Flower pots symbolizing the fragility of earth and people served as sonorous percussion instruments in the concluding work "To the earth" by American Frederic Rzewski - rhythmically coordinated by Blum with Lichtinger's speaking voice, which recited into the room in dactylic hexameters a prayer to Gäa, the goddess of the earth, dating from the 7th century. The surging applause came from an audience that was thrilled, but also moved, touched and fascinated. NMZ 9 / 2017
CASANOVA IN AUGSBURG - 1761
"A richly laid table awaited the numerous visitors to the Casanova evening at the Schaezlerpalais. Directed by Iris Lichtinger, the historical information was accompanied by philosophical thoughts on the "figure of the seducer". A particularly seductive courtship scene was served to the audience musically. Lichtinger had set the remarks to music written by Casanova's contemporaries, some of whom he met on his restless travels across Europe, such as Baldassare Galuppi in an inn between Moscow and Petersburg. Vivaldi's Sonata in A minor for flute, bassoon and basso continuo was the musical realisation of classical seduction, here between the alluring flute and the bassoon tenderly playing around it. (...) Lichtinger's attempt to portray Casanova in his time as well as from today's perspective must be judged as very successful. " AUGSBURGER ALLGEMEINE 7 / 2011
LAVA. Italian music of the present.
"Antonio Politano, a powerhouse with permanent breath and impeccably reliable skills, literally merged with his various large recorders and was absorbed in carrying out the composer's will. The same was true for Iris Lichtinger as soprano and narrator, who was able to express the moving power of the works ideally with her expressive, colourful and intense speech. Together with Iris Lichtinger, Alessandro Sica brilliantly interpreted another world premiere, Francesco La Licata's mythologically inspired "Amergin Song". The initial stammering, adding up to verses, the cultic rhythmic dance, the streams of sound from the tape created an expansive early-period mood. At the end, there were well-deserved bravi for all the performers." Augsburger Allgemeine 11 / 2014
HEAVY MACHINES. MEHR MUSIK!Ensemble & shortfilmlivemusic
"In a fragile and at the same time tense atmosphere, the ensemble surprised its audience with much that was unexpected and previously unheard, and deservedly received a long standing ovation." Augsburger Allgemeine 9 / 2010