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MaerzMusik – Festival of Contemporary Music

7 to 16 March 2008




MaerzMusik 08 Motiv 1
The atmosphere of sites, the resonance of situations – but also the change of positions, wandering and travelling, are often initiators and subjects of musical compositions. Physical and metaphorical processes of persistence, parting, transition and transformation constitute the thematic framework of MaerzMusik 2008. Music originates in concrete locations and is projected onto concrete locations; it is co-shaped by the conditions of these places, and transformed through the change of place. Correlations between climate, mentality, inhospitableness and abundance, between history and the present, tradition and individual development, are musically investigated. There is a regional focus on the music of the Iberian Peninsula and Mexico, whereas the rusty fences of the Australian Outback, the boiling underground of 1980s New York, the Paris of the fin de siècle and 1920s, and long journeys through natural and symbolic deserts also have their musical role to play.

Artists from Australia, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, Italy, Paris, Berlin, and many other places, create a rich and colourful picture of contemporary music in premieres and new productions, orchestral and chamber music, experimental music theatre, multimedia performances and digitally based works.

A “prelude” entitled HUM – The Art of Collecting will carry the audience in a “taxomanic parcours” through the normally inaccessible research collections of the Museum of Natural History. These rooms – “deserts of order” – with their vast abundance of vessels, vitrines and cabinets, filled with preserved animal species and minerals of all kinds, will be activated by the ensemble “a rose is”, and by curators of the museum.

MaerzMusik 2008 will open with the world premiere of Hommage à Klaus Nomi by Olga Neuwirth. This “songplay” follows Nomi, a Bavarian counter tenor via Berlin to New York where, as a hyperartificial cult figure of the New Wave, he lived through a glorious yet short career, due to an early death from Aids. Lucia Ronchetti, in her new monodrama for soprano Albertine – after Marcel Proust – exposes the young object of desire, and subject of desiring, to the intimacy of a small salon audience.

The topic of the human voice appearing in an ever-changing light by way of cultural re-coding, electronic processing and experimental vocal practice, is taken up in the multimedia-opera Itinerário do Sal by the Portuguese Miguel Azguime. Stefano Gervasoni in his new work COM QUE VOZ, integrates the poetry and chants of traditional “Fado”, which reflects the melancholic history and passion of the Portuguese nation. From Mauricio Sotelo come original compositions for the flamenco singer Arcángel and guitarist Cañizares. Fátima Miranda fuses the gestures of flamenco with Mongolian overtone singing, Indian Dhrupad and experimental vocal techniques. At the end of the festival, the Catalan artist Carles Santos will celebrate in a drastic, erotically obsessive and powerful fashion the clash of his virtuoso piano toccatas with German Lied-romanticism and post-dada sound poetry in his music theatre piece El fervor de la perseverança.

The Porto based Remix Ensemble creates a portrait of Emmanuel Nunes, currently Portugal’s most significant composer. Another portrait is dedicated to the Chinese-Australian composer Liza Lim. She searches for frictions and fractions, as well as correlations and links between cultural spheres, through which she moves with elegance and expertise.

The night program of the SONIC ARTS LOUNGE offers, alongside premieres by the Berlin group Kapital Band I (with extended line-up), and Perlonex (in collaboration with the video artist Ulrike Flaig), meetings with the Iberian noise-shamans Francisco López und Rafael Toral, the fabulous flamenco singer Arcángel, the thrilling Tambuco Percussion Ensemble from Mexico City and the multimedia political activists Nortec Collective from Tijuana.

Before the events at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Jon Rose plays music on a short stretch of the Great Fences of Australia – which, in a desperate attempt to prevent the epidemic spread of rabbits and dingos, criss-cross the wastelands and deserts of the fifth continent from East to West.

Matthias Osterwold

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