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Wendezeiten (Times of Change)

concert installation
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin
Udo Samel
film review by Pamela Meyer-Arndt, Thomas Heise, Andreas Höfer
slides by Klaus Elle

The concert installation Wendezeiten spans the time of two revolutionary points in European history: the Sturm and Drang of the 18th Century and the peaceful revolution in 1989, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009.

Going through the various rooms of the exhibition, visitors are able to make their own way through artistic representations of repression and the utopic ideals of a new and self-determined beginning. The documentary film maker Pamela Meyer-Arndt and the cinematographer Andreas Höfer have compiled previously unreleased material from the final years of the German Democratic Republic for this program, combining it together with interviews of West and East German composers who discuss the significance of these two German epochs. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin performs symphonies by Franz Ignaz Beck, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach and Joseph Haydn, all composed in the spirit of the time, while the Kammerensemble Neue Musik presents compositions by Helmut Lachermann, Helmut Oehring and Georg Katzer. The music of the 18th century is entwined together with images of the crumbling German Democratic Republic and excerpts from speeches made by active artists who spoke out during the demonstrations of November 4th 1989. The modern works, all direct references to the events of1989, find their historical counterpart in the revolutionary texts and travel writings by Johann Friedrich Reichardt and Christian Daniel Schubart, who were incarcerated for freely speaking out during the French Revolution.

During the exhibition, the actor Udo Samel accompanies the visitors as they make their way through the halls, reading excerpts of works by Reichardt and Schubart to them throughout the evening. In the foyer it is possible to take a break and sit down in order to look through the program and reflect on everything that has been seen and heard. The visitor can also see the film MATERIAL by Thomas Heise, which, without commentary presents abundant images of the GDR during the 1980’s. Or the visitor can view photographs of the GDR by Klaus Elle, who documented his experiences and feelings in his diaries and pictures before leaving the country. And there are film interviews with musicians and composers from the GDR, who tell of their work conditions as artists.

The evening begins with two programs, one presented by the Kammermusikensemble Neue Musik Berlin, performing a piece by Helmut Oehring, and the other presented by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin which starts off the evening with a symphony by Franz Ignaz Beck. The performances are divided into half hour blocks and most of the music is repeated twice, thereby allowing the public to hear everything. Included in the program is a map indicating where and when everything happens, thereby allowing visitors to follow their own path through the multimedia exhibition.

Eine Produktion des RADIALSYSTEMs V in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival und Uhde & Harckensee MusikManagement

Directed by Ilka Seifert, Folkert Uhde, and Tilman Harckensee
Production Management and Dramaturgical Work - Ilka Seifert
Musical Conception - Bettina Sluzalek, Folkert Uhde, Tilman Harckensee, Thomas Bruns
Concertmaster Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin - Georg Kallweit

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Kirsten Junglas
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