Notes and Editorial Reviews
Joel Frederiksen and his musicians have gone back in time all the way to . . . 1974. That was the year of the death, aged 26, of the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake, who was to achieve fame only posthumously. In 1972 he released his finest album, 'Pink Moon', which became legendary at the end of the ’70s and is here revisited in the style of a promenade through the Elizabethan era. A decidedly offbeat musical project that will surely intrigue fans of both Nick and Joel...
"I was deeply affected by Nick Drake’s music from the moment I first heard it, in 1982, just eight years after his death. The union of the plaintive voice, the intricate guitar accompaniments, and the moving lyrics in songs like Time has told me
spoke to me. From the recordings I learned to play some songs, performing them from time to time with my guitar... The idea for 'Requiem for a Pink Moon' had to wait a good long time. Once in a while, when I did find a guitar in my hands, I played 'Time has told me', and noticed how people responded to Nick’s music. Then, very surprisingly, in 2000 I heard the song 'Pink Moon' in a movie theater as part of a Volkswagen ad, and was struck again by Nick’s particular art. It is an art filled with melancholy, a feeling and a concept uniting him with the singersongwriters of the Elizabethan age. I kept running into people of all ages who knew about Nick and eventually had the idea of a Requiem. The idea of juxtaposing old and new appealed to me. I decided that I would perform portions of the Gregorian Requiem Mass (the Mass for the dead) alongside Nick’s songs arranged for early instruments... Rest in peace, Nick, and thank you for the beautiful music." Joel Frederiksen
Nicholas Rodney Drake was born on 19 June 1948. Principally influenced by Bob Dylan and the bluesman Josh White (the emblem of US protest song), he developed a very personal style blending British folk traditions and Black American blues. He was spotted by young American producer, Joe Boyd, who signed him to his label Witchseason (licensed to Island Records). He was soon regarded as a highly gifted songwriter. However, none of his three albums: 'Five Leaves Left' (1969), 'Bryter Layter' (1970) and 'Pink Moon' (1972), was a commercial success. The same was true of his concerts, with the result that he gradually stopped appearing in public. Nick Drake’s fragile health was further undermined by his addiction. He died prematurely of an overdose on 25 November 1974. It was only several years after his death that he gradually came to be seen as an icon of the musical counterculture of the '70s with a Rimbaud-like aura as a poète maudit. His music was rediscovered in the early 1980s when groups such as R.E.M. and The Cure cited him as a key influence.
A tribute to one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the past 50 years, a requiem to Nick Drake (1948-74), composed by Joel Frederiksen. Drake´s visionary songs speak to the human condition with titles such as “Which will you go for?”, “From the morning”, and “Time has told me”. Under fine melodic lines is a rhythmically driving guitar part which Frederiksen has orchestrated for Renaissance instruments. Parts of the plainsong Requiem Mass interweave with Drake’s finely crafted songs and songs of master songwriters from the Renaissance, all arranged and adapted by Joel Frederiksen, to form one piece in remembrance of this modern day “Thomas Campion”.
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