Francisco Meirino                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners

Three Realizations for Ensembles

CD, Misanthropic Agenda, 2019, MAR 052, 4 panel digipak, matte finish


Three compositions written by Francisco Meirino for two music ensembles : Epidemic for Ensemble Phoenix Basel and Nabla & Ghetto(phase IV) for Ensemble Vortex.

Using pitch and timbre of traditional acoustic instruments Meirino’s unique compositional voice speaks out. Guiding the listener through tension and decompression, unease and malaise.

Performed by Ensemble Vortex and Ensemble Phoenix Basel. Recorded 2016-2019, Mixed, edited and mastered by Francisco Meirino at Shiver Mobile in 2018-2019.

Track listing.

Nabla is a quintet for strings and bass clarinet composed by Francisco Meirino for the Quadrilatère project, performed by the Ensemble Vortex, Genève. Recorded live in 2018.

Patrick Schleuter : violin

Rada Hadjikostova : violin

Elsa Dorbath : cello

Tomás Fernández : double bass

Anne Gillot : bass clarinet

Score / Instructions

Ghetto (phase IV) is a quintet for strings, bass clarinet and electronic composed by Francisco Meirino, it is based on « In the ghetto » an original composition by Laurent Estoppey, this is the fourth and final rework of that piece for the Quadrilatère project the performed by the Ensemble Vortex, Genève. Recorded live in  2019.

Aurélien Ferrette : Cello 

Benoît Morel : viola

Hannah Walter : violin

Anne Gillot : bass clarinet

Francisco Meirino : electronic back tape


Epidemic (in memory of Daniel Buess) is a piece for 10 instruments and electronics composed for the Ensemble Phoenix Basel. This piece was commissioned by Daniel Buess who sadly passed away in march, "Epidemic" is dedicated to him.

Christoph Bösch : flute

Toshiko Sakakibara : clarinet

Remo Schnyder : saxophone

Nenad Markovic : trumpet

Maurizio Grandinetti : electric guitar

Wojciech Garbowski : violin

Sebastian Hoffman : percussions

Samuel Wettstein ; keyboards

Aleksander Gabrys : double bass

Thomas Peter : electronics



In Touching Extremes

A most attractive phenomenon for this reviewer is the metamorphosis of a lonesome noise-monger (of the acoustically enlightened variety) into a rigorous composer. In the case of Francisco Meirino, the latter stage confirms what should always be evident for a vigilant recipient: there’s noise and noise. One thing is ferocity for the sake of it, typically dictated by musical nescience; another is the consciousness of a tumultuous sphere of causes, effects and interrelations whose density incorporates a wealth of aural information, for the large part missed by the average audiences. Bitter truths, but still truths.

As per the title’s indication we have a triplet of compositions based on graphic scores, coherently and enthusiastically rendered by Ensemble Vortex (the shorter “Nabla” and “Ghetto – Phase IV”), and Ensemble Phoenix Basel (the 25-plus minutes of “Epidemics”). Meirino furnished the players with a few visual clues and/or a set of concise instructions, as to have them completely focused on chains of events that might or might not produce disastrous repercussions on a brittle psyche. In a nutshell, if you’re inescapably addicted to an impression of “tonality”, better apply for a different job. The keyword here is “shifting”, not necessarily in the tectonic acceptation of the term.

In between analeptic blends of gliding counterpoints, off-balance patterns, not-exactly-elliptical orbits and resonances of merely speculative descent, the mind gets radically shut down as the receptive organs start a process of alignment with the new constituents of uncustomary strategies. The gestures are firm, the pitches mostly tending to explicit a congenital stability rather than trigger incertitude. Among other qualities Meirino is gifted with a unique capacity, that of generating ominous crescendos retaining a degree of encouraging luminosity inside a quasi-explosive potential. To further simplify the concept, think of a massive ship sailing troubled seas without a hint of swaying: all members of the crew entirely conscious of their role, sure about what to do at any moment, unfaltering even in conditions of genuine danger. This sturdiness is reflected in every minute of this addictive record, comparable in spirit to Reinhold Friedl’s Xenakis [A]live! yet informed by a totally distinctive compositional identity.

In Avant Scena

“Three Realizations for Ensembles” was released in 2019 by “Misanthropic Agenda”. All the compositions were written by Francisco Meirino – the music of this composer is highly related to contemporary academical, electronic, electro-acoustic and experimental music. Francisco Meirino has his own style, original expression, modern musical language, evocative conception and unique sound. He’s fusing together electronics and acoustics – programs, synthesizers, computers, modular synthesizer, reel-to-reel tape recorders, magnetic fields detectors, piezo tranducers, field recorders and various home-made electronics are highly used in his music which is extremely intense, emotional and expressive. A huge range of electronics is combined with acoustics – composer is working with various types of instruments to invent, research and explore new, original and extended ways of playing. Masterful virtuosity, splendid playing technique, the best sound quality, creativity mixed with fascinating precision and the attention to details, contrasts and tiny pieces – all that makes an effort to bright, impressive, suggestive and exclusive sound of Francisco Meirino music.

“Three Realizations for Ensembles” was recorded by “Ensemble Vortex” and “Ensemble Phoenix”. Talented musicians who are the masters of their art had had a liberty to express and experiment on all fields of musical language. These two ensembles are the central figures of contemporary academical music scene – “Ensemble Vortex” consists of huge range of strings which make a great combo with bass clarinet – violins, viola, cellos, double bass are brought together in subtle and effective way. “Ensemble Phoenix” is based on different kinds of instruments – here’s flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, electric guitar, double bass, saxophone, keyboards, percussions mixed all together with electronics. The music has an intense and expressive musical language – wide range of effective, bright, evocative and modern expressions, extended, rare, exotic or experimental ways of playing, unique sound and brand new conception makes especially emotional, modern and exclusive sound of whole album. The main attention is paid to the sound, its quality, failures and the main abilities of the instruments. The musicians are experimentating on timbral section – they’re searching to new and exciting ways of playing, trying to expand the traditional sound’s zone by using unknown, unusual, weird, experimental, drastic or even radical ways of playing. That makes an effort to original, multi-layed, universal and suggestive musical pattern. Its basics are compounded from three independent sections – bright expressive melody line, dynamic and colorful rhythmic section and suggestive background. 

These three layers are highly different and contrasting to the others, but musicians still manage to combine all them together in delicat and organic way and finally make an exclusive and intense sound. Expression and vitality is brought in by sharp, shrieky and moving violins, loud thrilling trumpet, dynamic, vivid and driving saxophone, enlightning, inspiring and bright clarinet – all these instruments have their own sound and individual musical language. Soft gentle and murmuring tunes, silent pauses mixed with strange timbres and ambient tunes turn out to hysteric riffs, exaltating frantic culminations tinged with sharp tunes, aggressive thrills, full blasts, roaring saxophone’s and clarinet’s blow outs, repetitive persecutions, monotonous sessions and flowing passages, fantastic solos of keyboards. Remarkable, bright and exciting violins are contrasting to deep and soft viola, elegant and charming cello, heavy double bass and bass clarinet. Expressive violins go along together with inspiring thrills, hot spills, sparkling riffs, astonishing solos and moving melodies of trumpet, clarinet, saxophone and keyboards. That makes a contrasting, muli-layed and bright sound of the melody line. 

The rhythmic section is bright and colorful – all kinds fo rhythms, timbres and tunes are used here. It’s tinged with astonishing sonoristic experiments, frottings, tappings, exotic combos, eclectic stylistic allusions, experimental ways of playing and modern innovations. That finally makes an effort to original, unpredictable, virageous and expressive rhythmic section. Wide range of electronics is used here – ambient, computer sounds, synth tunes, amplifications, modifications, glitch, drone, modular synthesizer, reel-to-reel tape recorders and other kinds of electronics make a bright, luminous and passionate musical pattern, intense and suggestive ambience and innovative sound. The music of this album has an inspiring, emotional, intense, expressive and contrasting sound.

In Revue & Corrigée

The Ensemble Vortex recording Nabla

The Ensemble Phoenix Basel recording Epidemic