Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage 


Performance of Heiner Goebbels’ New Orchestra Cycle

musica viva of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Germany

For the Beethoven Year 2020, composer and director Heiner Goebbels and the Ensemble Modern Orchestra are developing a full-length orchestral project that explores, among other things, the history and institution of the orchestra. The premiere will be held during Musikfest Berlin at the Berlin Philharmonic on September 3, 2020 and will then go on tour to the cities of Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Vienna and Düsseldorf. The EvS Music Foundation will be funding the Munich performance at the city’s Prinzregententheater.

In A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook, composer and director Heiner Goebbels examines the orchestra as a polyphonic collective. This polyphony goes beyond the purely musical dimension, the simultaneity of separate musical processes. It also includes those elements that shape the symphony concert as a cultural practice: from the spatial positioning and movements of the musicians on stage, to the rituals of the concert format and the lighting situation in the concert hall. The full-length work will question the historically developed conventions and hierarchies that arrange these voices, with the aim of unleashing the diversity inherent in the orchestra. In numerous compositions with different instrumentations and orchestral treatments following one another without interruption, a surprising soundscape is created here where voices are also present that are scarcely or not heard at all in European concert halls. Voices of an aesthetics, culture and time foreign to us, ‘absent’ voices from ethnographic collections as well as from the composer’s personal experiences, which he or the orchestra then dialogues with. Thus, the tonal image of a polyphonic present emerges, which looks both forwards and backwards, inviting us to accept a juxtaposition of disparate voices and endure contradictions.

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