Soundlandscapes Mühlenbeck 2019

Trailer of the festival "Sound Landscapes Mühlenbeck 2019"

On May 25th and 26th 2019, the Mühlenbecker Soundlandscapes took place for the first time at the Summter lake in Mühlenbeck, north of Berlin.

Sparrows are twittering it from the rooftops ... and to understand what it is they want to make clear to us, one does not need to have a particularly trained ear or be specially intelligent: In the country, outside our city gates, the opulation of birds is rapidly decreasing in quantity and diversity. Also insects and bees have dramatically reduced in number. Forests and meadows have become more and more silent - year after year the sounds of buzzing, humming, wittering and trilling are heard less and less.

Anybody who dares to explain what these sparrows specifically tell us is considered a hysterical scaremonger, a party pooper, a fanatical doom monger: "It is not all that bad" is the usual response. Or: "Nature is a dynamic process and changes have always taken place!" We, on the other hand, worry about the fact that it has become so bad that even the hornets don't stir up their nest anymore - and our kids will inherit a world, the beauty of which can only be marvelled at by watching documentaries or looking in old yellowed picture books. We cannot proceed anymore as if nothing is wrong.

What has this to do with music and why did we take the initiative to organize a Nature Festival with the theme 'experiencing nature and listening to music'? Nature and music have something in common: When we experience nature, walking in a forest for example (one that is actually entitled to the name forest and is not some land transformed into a forest), then nature is not our enemy but our ally. We are surrounded by nature and we are just a tiny little part of that nature. Nature, the global system we depend on and interfere with. We need that system, but the system does not need us. The same applies to music: When we hear music, music is not our sparring partner but our ally. We are part of the music that surrounds us. Music lets us forget time and space - and makes us forget that we think we are the most important thing in this world. We are a tiny part of a greater whole - and the impact we make as humans is entirely our responsible.

SWR Jetzt-Musik 08.07.2019
NMZ Singen in Sorge 2019

One might compare it to music, which is totally man made and could be a model for what we do to our environment. We don't just leave it be, but change it to how we want to see it. Metaphorically speaking music might be looked upon as a lense through whose focus we perceive nature. Without a focal point we are blind and cannot perceive nor recognize anyting.

Throughout the 20th century composing has clearly expanded the view on music and became more and more varied: contemporary music depicts nature in many different ways. Sometimes music mimics the rustling sounds of nature, which can be very inebriating. Music can be like a landscape with its noises, structures and colours. Either an imitation of a real place, an Italian landscape or scotish landscape, or a fantastic artificial image beyond reality.

Either way it always pays to contemplate these perceptions as well as your own. Our small festival offers a variety of perceptions of how music mimics nature - yet it claims by no means to be complete. We explored the natural wealth of the Mühlenbecker countryside, the church in Mühlenbeck, the vocational college, lake Summter as well as the surrounding forests. Next to inviting professional musicians we also greatly valued the participation of local amateur ensembles and students. It is not only a festival for, but also of this countryside.

We hope that with this program we will reach the people for whom we have made it: the inhabitants of the Mühlenbecker country, nature lovers living in its vicinity and surrounding areas - and also for the music. We hope that after this festival more people will be aware of what the sparrows are twittering from the rooftops... everyone in his own way.

Uli Aumüller

Cast & Crew

Sebastian Rausch