Dror Feiler: a portrait

Dror Feiler was born in Tel Aviv, 1951. After completing his studies at an agricultural college (1965-1969) and serving his military service as a parachutist (1969-1972), he settled in Sweden 1973.

In 1977-1978 he studied musicology at Stockholm University and in 1978-1983 he studied composition at the state college of Music in Stockholm for Gunnar Bucht, S. D. Sandström and Brian Ferneyhough. Since the end of the 1970s, he has composed upwards 60 works for various combinations of instruments, ranging from orchestral music to solo pieces, from electroacoustic music to ballet music.

When speaking about his music, he shows a will to work with music that deals with the world:

I want always to deal with the grim problems in life: Shrapnel (war) ; Beat the White the red wedge (Revolution) ; Schlafbrand (Second World War) ; Let the Millionaires go Naked (Revenge of the poor); Intifada (Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Aesthetics per se do not interest me. More than that it is dangerous. When I compose or play I do not look for beauty, but for truth.

He often depicts, fortissimo and at great length, a violent struggle, but concerning Maavak (struggle, 1981) he says:

Maavak does not describe the struggle. Maavak is the struggle.

His thoughts about his music can sound like this:

The origin of all music is the ritual, the conjuration. The "new modern serious music" has lost almost all its blood and all its ritual suggestive powers. Rock, Noise, Trash & Techno music have preserved much of its ritual suggestive powers, but on the way lost most of its musicality. I want my music to be emotional and to develop to a point where it seems to go beyond itself. I want my music to have the suggestive powers, the aggressivity and the volume of Rock, Noise, Trash and Techno-Music and the refinement and skills of New music.
The intuitive molten metal brutality of the music brings the player into the energy of a hot improvisation. A new music is created, a new speed of thinking and feeling where the intellect meets manic raver. We experience an energy born of rapid movement and expression. The music does something palpable to its listeners, or at least incites them to a form of action, of awakening; it activates the listener.

Many of his titles provide excellent clues to his music:
shrapnel (1978) for contrabass clarinet and two tape recorders,
Brand (Fire) (1979-81), an improvisation for orchestra,
Döds mõssa över 70-talet (Requiem for the seventies) (1979-80), for soloists and orchestra,
Stalingrad (1981-82) improvisation for soloists and orchestra,
Barrikad (1981-82) for two amplified pianos,
Written in Salt (1982-83) for ten percussionists,
Slå en röd kil i det vita blocket (Beat the White the red wedge) (1981-86), for large orchestra,
Schlafbrand (1985) for organ and percussion ("Dedicated to all Jews and Communists Murdered during the Second World War"),
Tõndstickorna (The Matches) (1985) for two percussionists, two electric guitars, soprano saxophone and tape.
Gola' (Diaspora) (1986) for organ ("Dedicated to all the Migrant Workers in Europe"),
Låt miljonärerna gå nakna (Let the Millionaires go Naked) (1987) for four electric guitars, two sets of drums and tenor saxophone,
Ni är döda (You're dead) (1987) for two trombones, two electric guitars, two amplified cellos and a set of drums,
Holtz Narkose (1988) for contrabass clarinet, computer and live electronics,
Intifada (Uprising) (1988) for contrabass clarinet, computer and tape ("Dedicated to the Palestinian uprising"),
Huvudet hjulet rullar (The head, the wheel are rolling) (1989) for 2 pianos ("Dedicated to the french revolution"),
Kill Guitar Kill (1990) for 4 El guitars, live electronics, percussion and machines,
Den knutna näven (The Fist) (1991) for 10 instrumentalists, computer, tape and live electronics,
A death of a dream (1991) for cello solo,
Even the blood must sleep (1991) for trombone and percussion,
Wir kommen zurück (1992) for 15 instrumentalists,
Between the two halves of the orange (1993) for piano solo,
Kaos I - III (1994) for chamber ensemble, machines and live electronics,
Sparagmos I (1994) for violin solo and electronics,
Sham Mayim (1995) for chamber orchestra (1995 Ensemble Modern commission),
Music for dead Europeans (1996) for chamber orchestra.
Restitutio in pristinum for el. violin, el. guitar, sopranino saxophone, trombone & percussion 1996;
Sparagmos for violin solo, live electronics & chamber orchestra 1993-96;
Conatus for chamber orchestra & live electronics 1996;
I sommersi e i salvati for church organ & tape 1996;
Ember for symphonic orchestra 1996-97("Dedicated to the memory of Che Guevara") (1997 Donau Eschingen festival commission).

Parallel to his activities as a composer he has since 1978 been playing the saxophones, clarinets and electronics as a solo performer and in "Lokomotive Konkret" and "The Too Much Too Soon Orchestra" two music groups, of which he is the founder and artistic leader. He has taken part in radio recordings and concerts as a soloist or with his group in Europe, Asia and U.S.A.

Dror Feiler, with his ardent sense of vocation, must rank as one of Sweden's leading improvisation musicians and composers, and he campaigns for equality of status between improvised and pre-composed music.

Dror Feiler

We cannot help noticing how composing practice, with all its history, has taken us back to the origins of all music: improvisation. Improvisation can be interpreted as an instinctive act of trying to achieve emancipation in a bureaucratic, technocratic society. A society creating a body of artists which to a great extent is a body of fellow travellers and only in exceptional cases a body of resistance fighters, resistance being the most essential material for creating an art that is a self-defence which is imperative in the present day situation. My music springs from individual energy mobilized by a collective idea.

(from an article about Dror Feiler)

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