"La Notte" (ECM 2300) by Ketil Bjørnstad released on ECM Records 2013
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Ketil Bjørnstad - Piano
Andy Sheppard - Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Anja Lechner - Violoncello
Eivind Aarset - Guitars, Electronics
Arild Andersen - Double Bass
Marilyn Mazur - Percussion, Drums
MoldeJazz concert photos by John Kelman
Commissioned by the Molde International Jazz Festival and recorded live at the Norwegian festival in 2010, “La notte” is a salute to Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, whom Ketil Bjørnstad counts amongst his formative influences. “At the same time that I discovered what jazz could be, after listening to Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way, I also saw the films by Godard, Bresson and Antonioni. Perhaps it was the slow, rhythmic authority in the films by Michelangelo Antonioni that made me think of music... As long as visual art creates music in our minds, and music creates pictures and visual expressions with the same intensity, the two are deeply and profoundly interdependent”. This album, then, can be considered “the soundtrack to an inner film”, in which Antonioni’s images and atmospheres are translated and transformed through personal moods and memories. For the Molde concert, Bjørnstad convened a special Norwegian-Danish-German-British band of musicians, old and new friends closely associated with ECM. The concert was rapturously received by the media, and described as an “absolutely stunning performance” by All About Jazz.
Thanks to Heinz J. Ostermann, Philip Plescher, Friedrun Hardt, Guido Gorna
Extracts from the film "La Notte"
© 1961 Michelangelo Antonioni / Nepi Film / Sofitedip / Silver Films
Distributed by Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica Distribuzione S.p.A. /United Artists / Rialto Film
Introduction by Ralf Stadler:
"I was immediately captivated by the movie's imagery ... the way in which the two characters are being placed in relation - or rather without a relation - to each other. The film is like a sort of mine from which each viewer pulls out different aspects.
When I was a teenager, it was the perfect puberty flick, because, among other things, it's also about finding out why love doesn't work — or at least not in the long run. That really hit my attitude to life very well back then.
There is a scene at a party, where people play some party game, and I was enthralled by the director's concept to use the characters more like in a kind of game and less like in a psychological constellation, and thus [the whole movie] works more like a kind of laboratory set-up, while [it] is still highly emotional. Antonioni is indeed a big hero. You have to remember that many of his directing colleagues in Italy hated him for that. Orson Welles always spoke of the 'sin of Antonioni', which consists of the fact that you treat your characters in such a cold-hearted way - as Welles put it. You know, [Michael] Haneke talks about the 'glaciation of emotions', which Antonioni detected already in the sixties and also linked it very closely to the industrial age. From this viewpoint I find him very visionary.
What is certain is that at the time he made 'La Notte', he was a kind of 'navel' of European film culture, and he certainly had already understood a lot of things with foresight at the time. And when you watch the movie today, it still appears very modern with its camera perspectives and visual ideas, and not antiquated in terms of imagery."
Ralf Stadler is a filmmaker and managing director of the „Randfilmfest“ in Kassel. His film Zigarettenpause (Cigarette Break), a Daniil Charms adaptation, was awarded the German Short Film Award 2006.
An extended version of the two interviews can be found here: manafonistas.de/2019/01/07/ecm50-2010-ralf-stadler-and-ketil-bjornstad-remembering-la-notte/