The story of The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin began in 1982 in a small castle close to Berlin - and now they perform in Carnegie Hall ...
STEPHAN MAI : Uhm. It is a sort of party game. And this brings us to what this composition is actually about: a democracy made in heaven.
People dream about this: you can always speak your mind, whether out loud or softly, without being afraid to sound negative.
XENIA LÖFFLER: We are never hurtful nor say something that is incorrect.
STEPHAN MAI: No, we don’t.
RAPHAEL ALPERMANN: We make use of each other.
XENIA LÖFFLER: We make use of each other.
STEPHAN MAI: We make use of each other. And even during the interval we make use of each other.
What Stephan Mai describes here - our film starts with his words - is not just how he views the Kunst der Fuge by Johann Sebastian Bach, but also - and this was our impression - the somewhat utopian state which makes the "Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin" so unique. Everybody has a say, is heard and knows his place. A democracy on earth but made in heaven - only allowing, if at all, a few leaders among its equals. This would be a dream scenario for human kind – but it is not so obvious to bring about this kind of social behavior while playing baroque music literature. Because, Stephan Mai says, democracy was something alien during the Baroque era.
May be it is this contradiction that fires up the energy of the ensemble.
Our film starts in 1982 with concerts in Schloss Köpenick. This success story, featuring performances in Carnegie Hall, has by no means come to a halt yet.?The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, "Akamus" in short, is internationally admired as the top ensemble of 'Ancient Music'. The co-operation with René Jacobs and Sasha Waltz plus their new home inside the Radialsystem V Berlin will ensure the ensemble to be noticed. And not only by professionals (aficionados). In the film we hear the founding musicians talk about the moving history of their "Akademie" in the GDR and we get an insight into their present-day busy life. We see who leads this leaderless ensemble in a democratic fashion. Which, by the way, does not make it easier for them to work with each other but brings about a lot of excitment. We made two films from the material we shot: the first one, a one hour TV documentary, features interviews and live performances from 1984 until today. By using material from the private archive of the ensemble we were able to make a genuine portrait of the ensemble. The other film is a 90-minutes live recording of the "Kunst der Fuge" by Johann Sebastian Bach. It features the final rehearsal & the concert given on 28.11.2007 in the 'Radialsystem V Berlin' – with 20 strings, 4 wind instruments an organ & a harpsichord.
ARThaus Musik released this film on DVD and i tisl also for sale in the inpetto shop.