Whole Body Like Gone

25 October 2018

In summary, much like my first encounter with Zafraan, this concert left a strong impression. Yet again, the addition of visual and stage elements added a new dimension and emotional depth to the pieces, which were performed outstandingly by the ensemble. I’m full of anticipation for their next project, set to take place at Archive Books in Berlin in the end of the month.

Mount Dela

SWR2 JetztMusik

10 December 2017

»The Berlin Zafraan-Ensemble has recorded a portrait CD with works by the Israeli-Palestinian composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi for the Viennese label Kairos […] Overall I found this a great soundscape, which has transported itself into my room. I thought there was power in it. […] A good and successful example of the collaboration of composer-performer. […] The compilation is very beautiful, also this change. Alif is in the middle and that’s the biggest one. […] What you might say at this point, this CD is also very well recorded. […] I found it very nice as an element in the dramaturgy of the CD that there are also solos, which form a counterweight to the ensemble pieces.« (Review of Lydia Jeschke, Björn Gottstein, Bernd Künzig und Michael Rebhahn)

Deutschlandfunk, Die neue Platte

29 July 2017

»Worth discovering: the label bastille musique and the Zafraan Ensemble with the CD Klangrede. […] The ensemble attaches great importance understanding the ideas and sound visions of the music it plays and to putting them into practice as authentically as possible. The composers, on the other hand, were able to use the special qualities of individual musicians, for example, to push them to their technical limits.« (Hanno Ehrler)

Das Orchester

31 May 2017

»What is the relevance of the concept Klangrede, which is anchored in musical discourse of the 18th century, for contemporary composition? Eres Holz, Johannes B. Borowski and Stefan Keller, all of them belonging to one generation, answer this question in very different ways with one piece of chamber music and one piece of ensemble music, each pursuing very individual approaches. […] It is not only the varied sequence of six captivating compositions that makes this production so extraordinary, but also their interpretation by the Zafraan Ensemble under the direction of Titus Engel, which is uncompromisingly explored and captured by the recording technique.“ Stefan Drees

Neue Zeitschrift für Musik

28 February 2017

»The concert of the Zafraan Ensemble with pieces by Johannes B. Borowski, Eres Holz and Stefan Keller was one of the most remarkable and lively concerts at Ultraschall Berlin 2016. Now the formation re-recorded exactly the same programme. Despite all the differences in musical rhetoric, the pieces have the will to create complex structures and energetic sound-processes in common, which, with the brilliantly performing Zafraan Ensemble, transforms into a physically perceptible sound sensuality.« (Dirk Wieschollek)

neue musikzeitung

28 February 2017

»The commonality of the works by Borowski, Holz and Keller lies in the search for the linguistic ability of music. This can be seen in an expansive gesture and in original sound inventions, whereby the Zafraan Ensemble unter Titus Engel skillfully sharpens the profiles.« (Max Nyffeler)

Planet Hugill

13 February 2017

»Music among friends: Klangrede […] The Zafraan Ensemble musicians produce some really virtuosic playing, and no matter the difficulty they make each piece seem a natural and logical conversation. Titus Engel conducts the four larger scale works with great aplomb, and the whole has a great sense of clarity of texture and clarity of thought. […] The production values for these discs are high, with a lovely box and beautifully produced leaflets giving a very distinctive feel to the whole. A definite sense of occasion when you open it.« (Robert Hugill)

Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

19 December 2016

PdSK Longlist: Nomination for the Best List 01/2017 of Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik in the category »Zeitgenössische Musik«.

Südwest Presse

03 July 2016

»Together with the SWR, the cultural association Zehntscheuer presented the day for new music under the slogan Klangrede. […] Zafraan Ensemble convinced by great sovereignty […] The music was full of sound and orchestral effect. Titus Engel guided confidently through the event. Here too, strong and dynamic caesuras, rugged landmarks in time. Music like a scenic sequence.« (Frederick Straten)

Gonzo Circus

30 April 2016

»It was never a static performance at any time, especially because the musicians moved between the audience and Chiharu Shiota’s installation. […] Towards the end some visitors even dared to dance. Instead of a conventional performance of contemporary music, Alif turned out to be an unforgettable experience – an ambitous project, that has fully implemented this production.« (Tom Nys)


30 April 2016

»The concert installation alif::split in the wall was also part of the strategy to confront the world’s speed with long events. […] The Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi divided the musical period into three parts by letting the Zafraan Ensemble perform his powerful ensemble piece Alif at the beginning, in the middle and at the end. In between there were actions between the musicians, sometimes soloistic.« (Gisela Nauck)

neue musikzeitung

31 March 2016

»A new concert formate was tested under the title alif::split in the wall at Radialsystem. A spatial installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, who designed the Japanese pavilion at Venice Biennale, was complemented by a musical performance. Like the bloodstream of a big creature, illuminated tubes filled the space in which musicians and listeners could move freely. Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s orientalizing composition Alif, played by the Zafraan Ensemble, alternated with Stefan Goldmann’s live electronic techno-composition. As opposed as the musical languages were, they both addressed the audience directly without overtaxing it. Between the well-balanced change, Salome Kammer acted as a singing and dancing high priestess.« (Albrecht Dümling)