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Brooke Sietinsons (projections), Mary Lattimore (harp), Michael Barker (electronics, processing, homemade instruments)
Much of the work of Jozef van Wissem is based on the application of mirror images to lute composition. The work is idiomatic to lute tablature of around AD 1600. Through study in New York City with Patrick O’Brien, he discovered that from the Middle Ages on, one of the variations on the cantus firmus (the given melody) is the backwards performance of the melody. As a result, on his first group
of compositions, released as a CD Retrograde. A Classical Deconstruction (Persephone 002), Van Wissem wrote out mirror images of hundreds of classical lute tablature pieces, copying them out from the bottom right to the top left corner. To these inversions he added new themes, accents and rhythms. He then applied the “cut up” technique of writer William Burroughs and cut, shifted, mixed and pasted the parts
together to create new works. One critic has compared this work to that of German painter Georg Baselitz, who paints upside down.
The second installment in the application of mirror images was the CD Narcissus Drowning (Persephone 003). This work is based on musical palindromes, structures which sound the same when played forward or backwards. To this CD of self-composed pieces van Wissem added percussion and lute electronics. On his third CD Diplopia (BVHaast 0103), which also appropriated some original classical lute compositions, Gary Lucas played a steel guitar while van Wissem played a renaissance lute with occasional electronics. The fourth solo lute recording Simulacrum (Bvhaast 0104) consists of wolf notes and palindrome lute compositions.
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