Danish composer-flugelhorn player-educator rarely records but each of his works is a rare, beautiful gem. Song & Wind is Buchanan’s fourth major large-scale orchestral work, written for percussionist Marilyn Mazur, the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, all conducted by Carsten Seyer-Hansen. It was inspired by the work of the South African poet, Iain S. Thomas’ small existentialist poems (chosen with Buchanan’s wife, Nanna, and also inspired Buchanan’s previous orchestral work, On Rosenhill, Dacap, 2020) and Buchanna’s own thoughts about longing, doubt and loss, pain, and about time and eternity. Buchanan says that these thoughts and feelings pop up in his mind, «as a husband and a father who thinks back on a long life». These themes also inspired Buchanan’s masterpiece Requiem (Buchanan Records, 2015, also with Mazur, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and Seyer-Hansen). Song & Wind was premiered at Musikhuset Aarhus during Vinterjazz in February 2022.
The music was first inspired by the small human – the innocent, angelic voices of the choir – and the great Mother Nature – represented by the primal force of Mazur. It was composed with the Nordic nature «just there» with all its might, colors and sounds and countless relationships to man, in the places where Buchanan liver – in a landscape of soil and fields on Mols, just outside Aarhus, shaped by all the small hills and in the middle of the strong winds from the sea and in a small farmhouse in Kornhult, Sweden, surrounded by the darkness of the pine forest, the moss and the bird life. The references to the nature elements are reflected in the lyrics: «When I end, I will end as a tree ends: as a fire, bleeding out the sunlight from every summer it lived» (from the fourth movement «The Stones Make Sand Slow»). The cover artwork, the oil painting Variations of the Wind by Lars Physant on a relief structure created by Sílvia Magriñá Costán complements the musical vision.
As in previous orchestral works of Buchanan, he weaved masterfully a unique and dramatic musical encounter, contemplative and intensely emotional that lingers long in the mind after it is gone. Song & Wind is a seven-movement choral suite. Buchanan plays the flugelhorn and he is one of the main soloists and the Copenhagen Boys Choir gives voice to his elegiac, melancholic melodies. The Aarhus Jazz Orchestra embraces and complements these beautiful melodies with warm brass (four flugelhorn players and four trombonists) and woodwind (five sax players and clarinetists and flutists) sounds. Mazur acts as a sonic sorceress and a catalyst who connects the choir voices with the jazz orchestra and colors and paints the suite with delicate, imaginative sounds. The unconventional instrumentation, and especially the tone of Buchanan’s flugelhorn, introduces a ritualist-spiritual dimension to the suite, eventually, more hopeful and bright than Buchanan’s thoughts and feelings.
Jakob Buchanan (flugelhorn), Marilyn Mazur (percussion), Carsten Seyer-Hansen (conductor), Aarhus Jazz Orchestra; Pernille Bévort (alto saxophone, clarinet), Johan Toftegaard Knudsen (alto saxophone, clarinet), Michael Bladt (tenor saxophone, flute), Cesar Joaniquet (tenor saxophone, clarinet, baritone saxophone), Michael Olsen (bass clarinet), Lars Vissing (flugelhorn), Jan L. Sørensen (flugelhorn), Lars Søberg Andersen (flugelhorn), Jakob Sørensen (flugelhorn), Nikolai Bøgelund (trombone), Tobias Stavngaard (trombone), Niels Nørgaard (trombone), Henrik Resen (trombone), Mads Bærentzen (piano), Frederik Sakham (double bass), John Riddell (drums), Jonas Frøssing Lomholdt (vocals), Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir