Die Strottern © www.lukasbeck.com
A rough and ready translation of the old Viennese word «strottern» could be to «seek out something salvageable and useable.» Klemens Lendl and David Müller have breathed new life into the word without detracting from its onomatopoeia. Their art is situated somewhere between contemporary poetry and the traditional Bavarian and Austrian satirical songs (Gstanzltum), expertly interweaving rare words of Viennese argot to avantgarde and nostalgic effect. Their music remains deeply Viennese in spirit, bows to the past, but never turns its back on the present.
Because tradition often resembles some sort of endangered species of animal, it is treated like a rare and precious treasure that needs to be locked away in a museum for safekeeping. The Viennese song scene has long shaken off the sort of stereotyped thinking that covered it in dust for so long. On pioneering forays into realms of long lost traditions, you sometimes need to handle the strange creatures you find with kid gloves. With the necessary degree of tact and intuition, you can uncover great treasures. It is on such sensitive terrain that Die Strottern move, elegantly treading a delicate tightrope. And where would be the beauty of walking a tightrope without the force of gravity and without the ground beneath you? Klemens Lendl (violin and vocals) and David Müller (guitar and vocals) cultivate and water the nutrient soil like a garden allotment situated somewhere between the suburbs and the city centre and harvest applause from all directions.
Famous for building bridges to other musical styles and art forms, Die Strottern will collaborate with fresh talent and established stars of the Viennese scene in their featured portrait series in the Wiener Konzerthaus. Poet Peter Ahorner probably belongs to the latter category, a magician of words to rank alongside H. C. Artmann. «Die Strottern simply have an inimitable elegance. Part of their magic is that they never miscalculate. Their music is very intense. It demands your attention and receives it, too.» That is how Ahorner describes the wonderfully intimate moments in the music of his long-standing stage partners.
With «Die Strottern & Brass», the duo throw off the intimacy of their two-man show and bring to the Viennese song a range of instruments not normally associated with it. That is reason enough for Martin Eberle and Martin Ptak to show off their most delicate sounds. The Viennese song duo also go on the search for common points of contact with the Ensemble Mikado, finding them in melancholy and the secret desire to submerge themselves in it. And even in their most megalomaniac moments – backed by the 16-member retro-film music orchestra Velvet Elevator – Die Strottern perform their balancing act with skill and aplomb. With a sweeping view from Vienna's Kahlenberg hill to the Alps and then on to Hollywood, the art of the Viennese song stretches from the past to the future.