Django Symphonique

Symphonic Django/ Django Symphonique – the world’s first symphonic orchestrated version of legendary string-swing guitarist Django Reinhardt’s musical legacy sees a number of French performances in February.

Django Symphonique illustrasjon

Symphonic Django/ Django Symphonique is the first ever edition of the legendary Django Reinhardt´s music orchestrated for symphony orchestra. The idea originated from string-swing guitarist Jon Larsen and was developed in cooperation with Norwegian festival Christiansand String Swing. The arrangements are by Per Ekdahl and were first performed live by Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra featuring Florin Niculescu (RO) and Stochelo Rosenberg (NL) as soloists.

Mid to late February sees a string of French performances of the Django Symphonique – bringing the guitar master’s music back to his native country. Three dates at Paris’ Circue d’Hiver are followed by a performance in Lyon at the Auditorium. The Paris performances feature Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Biréli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg,Florin Niculescu and Andreas Öberg

Django Reinhardt´s music is more popular than ever. What was originally a French subculture grew in the 1980´s not only into a European phenomenon, but developed into a global trend. There are now thousands of musicians exploring the magical universe of Django all over the world and”Django” festivals in more than 40 countries.

Django Reinhardt and his equivalent contemporary Stéphane Grappelli perfected an European jazzform in the legendary Le Quintette du Hot Club de France that toured during the 1930´s. Django gave jazz a European voice, a European expression. His music was influenced by the gipsy society that he originated from, American jazz, and swing music, and the diverse music scene in Paris where he made a name for himself.

But the autodidact guitar genius showed a growing interest for art music throughout his career. Despite his poor reading and writing skills – he was literally illiterate - he left behind a significant number of distinguished compositions which he dreamed of performing in a ”symphonic” setting. More than one of his fingerprint compositions was originally written with a symphonic sound in mind, for instance Manoir de Mes Reves and Diminishing Blackness (worktitled Go tell Mozart.) With one exception, a performance of Django Reinhardt´s Bolero complementing Ravel´s famous composition bearing the same name, his symphonic ambitions were never realised...until 2005.

On behalf of the Festival Christianssand String Swing Circus, endorsing an idea of Jon Larsen, Swedish arranger Per Ekdahl orchestrated 10 of Django Reinhardt´s compositions for symphony orchestra. Given the ambitious task, a posthumous fulfilment of Django Reinhardt´s lifelong dream, the requirement was quality in every detail; his most memorable tunes were carefully studied, Django´s original harmonisation laid foundation for Per Ekdahl´s inspired orchestration.

- The quest has been to interpret Django Reinhardt´s music with contemporary ideas, translate his music to a symphonic language, yet still remain devoted to the original (…)

Per Ekdahl, arranger

- At last - Django's music the way it was intended – in full symphonic widescreen, and on top, the greatest gypsy jazz players today... this is a dream! (…)

Jon Larsen, Hot Club Records

More info here.

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