ISOLATION AS CONSOLATION
Favourite album of the spring: these 16 soloists play with such moving devotion, as if no longer from this world. (Der Tagesspiegel, 14.03.2021)
It’s certainly a beautifully played curiosity, and provides an interesting, pared-down perspective on the symphony… (The Guardian, 25.03.2021)
Ensemble Mini’s chamber-music dimensions makes a marked difference to the orchestral version… and throws fresh light on Mahler’s puzzling Tenth. (The Spectator, 12.06.2021)
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Ensemble Mini – the “ultimate corona orchestra” of 16 soloists from German symphony orchestras – releases its new album of the fascinating re-construction by Michelle Castelletti of Mahler’s 10th Symphony.
Upon his death in 1911, Mahler’s “unfinished” – one of the most powerful works ever written – was left only in a mini-score of sketches with reduced voices. Mahler’s struggle in the symphony is the perfect mirror for the billions of people around the world who currently find themselves left alone in isolation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Ensemble Mini’s unique approach helps to transport us into a new perspective. If there is ever a piece of music for this moment in history, it is Mahler’s 10th.
Ensemble Mini is a courageous collective of supersonic soloists from German symphony orchestras that repackages super symphonic music for new audiences. Often commissioning world premiere arrangements for innovative late-night projects, its mission is to revolutionise the style, sound and setting of classical concerts. This began in 2010 with “mini-Mahler” at Berlin’s Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal, followed by “Strauss 150: New Perspectives” at STATTBAD Berlin, “From Russia with Soul” at Griessmühle Berlin and “Bartók Beyond Borders” at Musikbrauerei Berlin.
Artist collaborations have included Regula Mühlemann, Marlis Petersen, Ferhan & Ferzan Önder, Gerhild Romberger, Tanja Tetzlaff, Ruth Ziesak and Elisa Carrillo Cabrera. Recent guest performances have included Konzerthaus Berlin (Debussy), Budapest Palace of Arts (Bartók), Auditorio Nacional Madrid, Essener Philharmonie (Mahler), Rheingau Musik Festival (Bruckner), Mozarteum Salzburg (Prokofiev) and Zaryadye Hall Moscow (Shostakovich).
Celebrating its 10th anniversary 2020-21 season as the “ultimate corona orchestra”, Ensemble Mini has been reviewed and featured widely in German media (such as with 3sat Kulturzeit, ZDF Aspekte, rbb Stilbruch and WDR 3) and has also recorded several live concerts for Deutschlandfunk Kultur, RBB Kulturradio, NDR Kultur and SWR Classic. This recording of Mahler’s 10th Symphony is a follow-up to the ensemble’s debut disc of Mahler’s 9th Symphony from 2014, also on the ARS-Produktion label.
Future plans for 2021/22 include a return of “Bartók Beyond Borders” on tour, Zemlinsky with RIAS Kammerchor and further celebrations of the Stravinsky and Schoenberg 2021 anniversaries, as well as new projects featuring Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Debussy’s Images, all newly arranged for Ensemble Mini.
Joolz Gale | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Joolz Gale feels equally at home with modern and period instrument orchestras, offering not only a historically informed approach to baroque, classical and early romantic repertoire but also an extensive knowledge of chamber, choral and vocal repertoire. His passion for special projects and new concert formats has meanwhile made him one of the world’s leading arrangers of symphonic music.
Born in England, Joolz Gale initially studied as a violinist and read Music at the University of Oxford before furthering his studies at London’s Royal College of Music as a singer. Graduating in 2007, he became an inaugural apprentice to the Monteverdi Choir under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, at which time he began to develop his skills as a conductor.
In the same year, he took part in the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, after which he made his début radio recording with Bayerischer Rundfunk and the Bamberger Symphoniker. He has since gone on to make conducting debuts with choirs and orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. He has meanwhile assisted and studied with Paavo Järvi and Sir Roger Norrington.
As founder and artistic director of Ensemble Mini, Joolz Gale has arranged over 30 works for chamber orchestra including Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Bartók’s Dance Suite, Debussy’s La Mer, Bruckner’s 9th, Prokofiev’s 5th and Shostakovich’s 9th & 10th Symphonies, many of which he has received exclusive rights. He is represented and published by Schott, Sikorski and Boosey & Hawkes.