“Requiem for a Dying Planet” cinema-concert
Music by Ernst Reijseger forWerner Herzog‘s cinema
Ernst Reijseger cello
Harmen Fraanje piano
Mola Sylla vocals, xalam, and mbira
Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei
Footage from the films: “The Wild Blue Yonder”, “The White Diamond”, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, and “Nomad – In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin”
Fascinated by the curtain of mist of a waterfall in the tropical forest of Guyana, Herzog rigged a camera to capture the images that hid there, but then declined to include them in his White Diamond because he did not want to violate the integrity of the cataract or to dispel its mythic potency. With a director like Werner Herzog, driven by an intense, abrupt curiosity for everything under the sun (and out in the darkness), but also aware of the unfathomable mystery of nature, wild or human, it is hard to guess the kind of music he will choose to accompany the documentary films he dedicates to our planet and to the men who inhabit it, themselves a land to be explored. Perhaps only someone like Ernst Reijseger—the composer-cellist whose prodigious skills can penetrate the liminal region between jazz, improvisation, and chamber music—can measure up to the German director, who, while commenting on The Wild Blue Yonder, said that he “wanted to use imagery and sound in a way never before experienced.” The result they achieved is one of hypnotic beauty and amazing import, where film and music meet on equal terms, and where the solemn meets the mundane, or—as in The Wild Blue Yonder —where the scenes in space, courtesy of NASA, blend with spectacular underwater footage from Antarctica.