June-11th-2004, 04:32 PM
Heiner Goebbels -- Need Recommendations
June-11th-2004, 04:37 PM
not a fan, but you should check out some of this festival this weekend if you can, Alex (nothing to do with Goebbels, just wanted to make sure you saw this in time):
Last edited by Jon Abbey; June-11th-2004 at 04:37 PM.
June-11th-2004, 04:38 PM
I have a few of his things on ECM (and one on EVA). Generally speaking, I enjoy them well enough, though I think I'd probably pick the first I heard, "Man in an Elevator" over the rest. Great cast (George Lewis, Don Cherry, Arto Lindsay, Frith, Rothenberg) and some pretty catchy tunes.
June-11th-2004, 04:42 PM
I really love this album, and second the rec.
Originally Posted by Brian Olewnick
June-11th-2004, 04:47 PM
Plus ça change...
I've only got a couple, but I like "Elevator" best.
June-11th-2004, 04:48 PM
Yeah, that's the one I was leaning towards in the store, but I wasn't sure, as their was another piece with Eisler or Eisler inspired material, and then a double-disc set with Peter Broetzmann among the personal, but the latter was rather pricey and therefore probably out of the question. Thanks Brian and Vince.
Originally Posted by Vince Kargatis
Jon, thanks for the heads up. I caught a Guenter Sommer gig tonight, so it looks like I missed Axel Doerner, who I've only seen in a straight-ahead Jazz setting and not in a more experimental vein. Shit. Will try to catch tomorrow's evening.
wait, just looked at the website again, and it looks like Otomo Yoshihide is playing, as well as Burkhard Beins and I haven't missed Axel Doerner afterall. Cool, maybe I get a little taste of AMPLIFY after all.
June-11th-2004, 05:27 PM
I haven't heard Eislermaterial, but I do have Surrogate Cities from 2000. It's a classical recording though -- 5 pieces total -- A Suite for Sampler and Orchestra and 3 pieces for vocalist and orchestra (one with words by Paul Auster). A solid CD, but The Man in the Elevator is the one to go for.
June-11th-2004, 07:14 PM
I really liked "Black on White", however, it is the only HG I've heard. It was performed by Ensemble Modern iirc.
June-13th-2004, 06:45 AM
Just wanted to thank my man Job Abbey for hipping me to the Space + Place event, which I really enjoyed quite a lot.
My two favorite performances were the four courtyard piece, with Andrea Neumann and Tony Buck playing in one courtyard with 3 other artists doing electronics in three adjacent courtyards, and the Otomo Yoshihide composition (which Otomo himself did not perform in, but was present for).
The more "straight-ahead" new music pieces performed by the Kammer Ensemble Neue Musik I also quite enjoyed.
Picked up two CDs while I was there, the Andrea Neumann/Burkhard Beins disc on Erstwhile and the Phosphor disc on Potlach.
Also just ordered the "Berlin Drums" set from Absinthe records online (man, the Plugged Nickel box was supposed to be my only CD purchase this year!)
Jon, my sincere thanks for pointing me towards this. This is a field of music I know little about, so if you get any notices for such shows in my vicinity in the future, feel free to point me there.
June-13th-2004, 06:50 AM
I should add that the performance of Coal Ratio, the Otomo Yoshihide composition, was in a giant courtyard, with the musicians distributed throughout the audience and on different levels of the building, and Burkhard Beins and Tony Buck on opposite sides of each other in two different buildings. Axel Doerner wandered around quite a bit. I was seated on a comfortable chair near to the violin and viola players from the KNM, with a pretty good view of Robin Hayward on tuba and Andrea Neumann playing Innenklavier.
In case you didn't already know, the series of performances took place in a half-completed office/shopping complex right on the border between Friedrichshain (my district) and Kreuzberg. Really cool atmosphere.
June-14th-2004, 10:33 AM
An air of normality
Just catching up from a buncha days out of town, but here's my two cents -- Eislermaterial is devastatingly effective if you appreciate Eisler's music, because there's actually not much Goebbels in it. Surrogate Cities is good, not great. And Black on White is an exceptional piece of music theater, but I don't know that it works as well on CD. That's true of most of the Goebbels I've heard (with the possible exception of Elevator, which I believe was conceived for radio) -- Goebbels is so intensely theatrical that his work suffers without the multiple dimensions for which it was conceived.
This may or may not help, from Time Out New York, July 1017, 2003:
German composer Heiner Goebbels pays homage to a formative influence in Eislermaterial
By Steve Smith
Pondering the devastating rent in the fabric of European culture caused by the tumult of the Second World War, philosopher Theodor Adorno stated that "writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric." Consequently, German music in the immediate postwar period avoided confrontation with social issues, instead swinging squarely toward the intellectual, antisentimental dogma of serialism. Born in 1952, Heiner Goebbels was raised in a musical household, yet by the time he entered college, he had abandoned music for sociology. Then he encountered the works and essays of Hanns Eisler, a Schoenberg student who turned to creating socialist songs and jazz-inflected theatrical works alongside Bertolt Brecht in the '20s and '30s. For Goebbels, the discovery was revelatory.
"Until I noticed Eisler's work, I thought music was something completely separate from society," Goebbels recalls. "Once I knew his work and read his texts, I understood that there could be a very lively connection between them." Inspired by Eisler, in 1976 Goebbels organized Das Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester, a band that played at demonstrations and rallies. He mixed free improvisation with agitprop politics in a duo with saxophonist Alfred Harth, which debuted with an album titled Four Fists for Hanns Eisler. Goebbels went on to create desolate theater works with Heiner Müller, an East German playwright viewed as a spiritual heir to Brecht, and joined forces with radical British drummer Chris Cutler in the politicized improvising rock group Cassiber. If anything unified Goebbels's multifarious utterances, it was his persistent social consciousness, shot through with a pervasive melancholy.
In recent years, Goebbels's art has come in from the fringes to assume an increasingly prominent place in the concert hall: Two years ago, the Lincoln Center Festival presented Frankfurt's Ensemble Modern in his theatrical concert piece Black on White, while this spring the Brooklyn Academy of Music staged Hashirigaki, a haunting mixture of Japanese ritual, Gertrude Stein and Brian Wilson. On Sunday 13, the Ensemble Modern returns to Lincoln Center to perform Eislermaterial, Goebbels's most explicit homage to his spiritual mentor. Issued on CD last year by ECM, the work refracts Eisler's music through the vivid spectrum of Goebbels's eclectic style. As on the disc, actor Josef Bierbichler will sing Eisler's poignant songs, some of which feature explicitly socialist lyrics by Brecht.
"I wanted to give an overview of the wide range of his works, from simple songs and marches to complex orchestral music, and I also wanted to include improvisations on his themes," Goebbels says. He also brought Eisler's voice into the piece literally, constructing two spoken-word movements from fragments of recorded lectures. "In this collage of his voice, you get a sense of his intensity -- to fight and confront, but also to allow for weakness, to show doubt, to stand in contradiction."
Aware that professional musicians -- even those as committed to innovation as the Ensemble Modern -- sometimes take a workaday approach to performing new music, Goebbels employed a series of what he calls "tricks" to ensure that the players thoroughly internalized Eisler's music. He has the ensemble perform without a conductor, thus forcing the players to listen carefully. He collaborated with the musicians on some of the arrangements and also required them to improvise, which meant that they would have to commit melodies and harmonies to memory. And he positioned the performers on three sides of a square around a tiny statue of Eisler, with like instruments separated. "On the left side, we have the violin player; on the right side, we have the cello; in the back, we have the viola," he explains, "which means the three musicians who have the most intimate things to play have the biggest distance [over which] to communicate."
While the music in Eislermaterial is almost entirely Eisler's, the work still bears Goebbels's unmistakable stamp, not only in its wild improvisation and unlikely juxtapositions, but also in its melancholy staging and lighting. "I hate when elements are just illustrative," he explains. "That's why I try to bring even minor elements of the theatrical tradition to a very up-front importance. Light can be as important as a word or sound; a noise can be as important as text."