Hans Joern Brandenburg: Logic and The Gorey End

Combining the slanting Jazz Rock fusion of British trio "Tiger Lillies" with the fine string sounds of the "Kronos Quartet" is an unusual pairing, but this is just what composer and arranger Hans-Joern Brandenburg did.

Logic User Hans-Joern Brandenburg:
Mediator between musical worlds

Hans-Joern Brandenburg has acquired his musical experience over many years as a Jazz and Rock musician on the one hand, and a composer for movie and theater projects on the other. His studies at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater, in Hannover, provided him with the theory and fundamental knowledge for his career. One of his first big theater projects was a collaboration with Tom Waits and Robert Wilson on a new version of German saga "Freischuetz" (renamed "The Black Rider") in the Thalia Theater, Hamburg. The surprising success of this production led to guest performances in Germany, Austria, the U.S.A., France, Italy, Spain and even China.

Brandenburg got to know British trio "Tiger Lillies" during 2000/2001, while working as the musical director of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. During this period, the band took part in the production of "Shock Headed Peter", with Brandenburg contributing the arrangements. Hans-Joern has also been involved in a number of other important theater productions. His job as musical director on Buechner's "Leonce und Lena" being one of the most startling projects in recent times. This production showcased his talents, along with those of famous director Robert Wilson and German pop icon Herbert Groenemeyer, who composed the music for the drama.

A new opportunity to collaborate with Tiger Lillies arose in 2003. The band wanted to involve strings in their songs ; more specifically, they wanted to be accompanied by one of the most famous string ensembles worldwide, the Kronos Quartet. The one big problem for the self-taught musicians: How do you communicate with the famous string group when you're not able to express your ideas as notation? This was one of the jobs for Hans-Joern Brandenburg, who told us: "The Tiger Lillies gave me the songs as stereo files, and I opened them in Logic. I notated the bass and then arranged the usual four string quartet instruments around it". While doing this work, the fact that he studied viola, as a subsidiary subject at the academy, was not the only element that helped him to get the job done: "The Score Editor of Logic is very user friendly."

Logic also played a key role during rehearsal and recording. In Hans-Joern's opinion, it was very important to be able to swap rapidly between audio and MIDI in these situations: "I can react immediately to key changes, and can reformat length." Tiger Lillies are known to continually make changes to their songs during live performances. The Kronos Quartet, on the other hand, are dependent on clear structures: " This means tidy notation." Hans-Joern helped the Kronos Quartet to cope with the recording schedule of only five days. "In a way, rehearsals and recording were one. I had my PowerBook on-site for quick transcriptions."

The unusual collaboration between Tiger Lillies and the Kronos Quartet has been enthusiastically received by both the public and critics. The album "The Gorey End" has been nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award in the "Best Classical Crossover Album" category.

Hans-Joern Brandenburg has a number of new projects on the horizon, including another with the Kronos Quartet, and several theater projects. On his to do list are a collaboration with famous author and director George Tabori and, if he can afford the time, he's dedicated to another crossover of a special kind: Drum & Bass sessions with his son Darius.