Concept for a sound-body installation (2021)

We have been making music documentaries for over thirty years, mainly for European television. Time and again, we have focused our recordings on the tactile, sensual moment of music-making. We moved our cameras very close to the exact places where the physical gestures and movements of the musicians translate into sound, where the bow strokes the string, where the smallest movements of the fingers or lips change the shape and vibration of the sound.

I have put together excerpts from our films with Jordi Savall, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ligeti and Lachenmann in a 15-minute trailer. Every active musician knows immediately what I'm talking about when I talk about the physicality of sound production, which is what we're aiming for here.

What I now intend to do is to film an ensemble of 12 musicians, for example, in this way (i.e. above all very close shots - but very carefully lit and microphoned) - and to show these 12 perspectives on the 12 musicians simultaneously in a video sound installation. I imagine 12 semi-transparent screens hanging in a large darkened room, on which you can see the image from both sides. The canvases are hung in such a way that you can wander around the room like in a labyrinth. A recording of one musician is projected onto each screen; taken together, all the recordings of all 12 musicians and screens form an entire body, which is composed of its detailed sections (this installation shows at the same time what is usually edited one after the other in a film). Each screen is assigned a loudspeaker with the sound of one musician in particular. The 12 loudspeakers distributed in the room in this way unite to form the sound of the musical ensemble, which is also commonly referred to as a "sound body", except that the audience can walk around in this body of sound - be inside it, be part of it, as both sound and image do not confront them from the front, from a stage, but surround them as listeners - and incorporate them.

New pieces can be composed especially for this "sound-body installation", works of modern or early music can be played - and a combination with musicians performing live in the installation is also possible.For example, the instrumental part of a composition could be played over the screens and loudspeakers while a choir or vocal ensemble sings live in the installation.

During his fellowship at the Berliner Wissenschaftskolleg, I also had several conversations with the Spanish composer Alberto Posadas about the possibilities and challenges of this installation, one of which was incorporated into his most recent composition "ubi sunt". The idea here was to record 12 of the 24-part double-choir composition on the screens and have 12 voices sing live.

Translation by DeepL

Other films on this topic:
Jordi Savall - Virtuoso of the viola da gamba
My Cinema for the ears - Francis Dhomont recomposes the famous "Spring Concerto" by Antonio Vivaldi
...zwei Gefühle ... by Helmut Lachenmann
Music for thousand fingers - The Composer Conlon Nancarrow
[If cogwheels are humans - György Ligeti´s Piano Concerto]If cogwheels are humans - György Ligeti´s Piano Concerto
Dulab Alpaloma - Improvisation of "La Paloma" by Sebastian de Yradier in the form of a rondo for 15 musicians all living in Berlin

Music of the trailer

1. Jordi Savall - M. de Sainte-Colombe - viola da gamba solo - Krakow 2004
2. Francis Dhomont - Un autre printemps - electroacoustic - Montréal / Canada 2000
3. Helmut Lachenmann - ...two feelings ... / Music with Leonardo - Chamber Ensemble New Music (Peter Rundel) - Berlin / Germany 1998
4 Conlon Nancarrow - Study for player piano - Self-playing piano - Mexico City 1993
5. György Ligeti - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra - Ensemble Intercontemporain (Pierre Boulez) - Paris 1996

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Cast & Crew

Uli Aumüller