What is improvisation?

An essay by Uli Aumüller

Music existed ever since the beginning of mankind & originally it was probably improvised. The invention of the written language started a not always friendly contest as to what kind of music was more genuinely conceived: music performed spontaneously or music performed from memory? During the 2007 'Musiktriennale Köln -"Improvisation", Uli Aumüller observed and interviewed 10 contrasting ensembles and musicians. He asked them about the similarities between a Baroque flute quartet & Syrian-Arabian music, Japanese noise & French organ improvisation or Jazz & improvisations by Chopin, Bach or Schumann. The film gives an insight into the diversity and beauty of different kinds of musical improvisation and shows the unconditional dedication of the musicians. A dedication also noticeable during improvisations when musicians are seemingly better able to express themselves. This is not the only paradox we encountered. It is not easy to answer: “What is improvisation?” in one sentence. Featured artists include: ?Flautando Köln, Ensemble Abed Azrié, Tetsuo Furudate, Bob Ostertag, Thierry Mechler, Reinhard Gagel, Pièrre-Stéphane Meugé. Geneviève Strosser, das mollsche gesetz, Maria de Alvear, Rochus Aust/Re-Load Futura, Gabriela Montero.
Film commissioned by WDR Köln and made by 'inpetto filmproduktion berlin'

What is improvisation? An essay by Uli Aumüller

Camera Roland Breitschuh Ralf Lenzen Ingo Arndt

Sound Mario Lederer Till von Reumont Dirk Hendrischke?

Voice-over Andreas Erfurth Nadja Schulz-Berlinghoff

Video editing Ruxandra Radulescu

Sound editing George Morawietz

Production coordination Gösta Courkamp

Production Hanne Kaisik

Script and Direction Uli Aumüller?

Editor Lothar Mattner

Filmed during the Musiktriennale Köln 2007

An 'inpetto filmproduktion berlin' production for WDR?© 2007 WDR

Cast & Crew

Uli Aumüller